Residents looking to downsize will soon be able to and stay in the city.
Council approved a change to the city’s Land Use Bylaw creating a new type of land use district which covers the smaller homes and lots, known in the bylaw as planned lots.
“The desire to offer a mix of housing types in order to stay a sustainable community is a vision that was built into the MDP, with the guidance of our resident committee,” said Chestermere’s Mayor Patricia Matthews.
While staff where consulting residents for the city’s Municipal Development Plan (MDP) update last year, residents told staff that the city has a lot of large family homes and expressed a desire for a smaller option.
The city does have several multi-family developments that offer a smaller option. With the resident’s feedback, staff wanted to expand the kinds and sizes of houses available in Chestermere.
“Residents love the ‘community’ feeling in their neighbourhoods but wanted more options for the types of houses they could choose to live in.
“More range and diversity in housing options became a top priority to achieve the City’s updated Municipal Development Plan vision,” said City of Chestermere Municipal Planner Jillian Geen.
The new planned lot district house will provide both residents and people looking to move to Chestermere smaller single family homes that will meet the needs of first-time home buyers.
These new houses will also provide young professionals and families a more affordable option.
Finally, these new housing products will give seniors in Chestermere and option to downsize while staying independent and in the community.
“The Planned Lots provides another option to current residents that may be seeking to be comfortable in Chestermere during different stages of their lives, as well keep our community attractive to new residents and employers,” said city Development Services Coordinator Jeffery Gibeau.
The decision by council to approve the new zoning came with a significant amount of debate as councilors wanted to ensure this was done right the first time.
“The challenge is to make sure that the intent of smaller houses on a smaller yard doesn’t get lost in a push from the market for large houses on a smaller yard- that can be found anywhere,” said Matthews.
“Now is the time to fine tune what that might look like in our neighbourhoods and we want to make sure it’s done right,” she said.
The approved changes also open the door to bungalows being built in the planned lot districts for both seniors and those residents with reduced mobility.
“We want a unique offering that reflects Chestermere values,” said Matthews.
With the approval at the May 1 council meeting, land owners and developers can now apply to the city to use the planned lot designation and can start building this new type of house in the city.
There are already new neighbourhoods being planned for the western edge of Chestermere which include planned lots in their proposals.
With the upcoming municipal election this October, things will be changing at city hall as Chestermerians will be electing a new Mayor and council.
As prospective candidates start to come forward with new ideas and campaign promises so too come the requests for campaign funding.
“While election campaigning is an exciting time for candidates it’s really important for them to remember that under the act they do have financial obligations to follow,” said City of Chestermere Legislative Coordinator Jillian Borsuk.
The Local Authorities Election Act (LAEA) sets out the rules for municipal elections in Alberta.
Included in that are the regulations governing campaign financing.
“There’s a lot of regulations around things such as how you can fund your campaign, who can fund your campaign and how much they can contribute,” said Borsuk.
The LAEA also defines how a candidate can use the funds received for their campaign for public office. These rules also apply to what happens with surplus funds after the election is over.
To accept campaign contributions, a prospective candidate has to register their intent to run at city hall prior to accepting any form of campaign donation.
Currently there are five candidates for city council that have registered with the city and are eligible to start fundraising for their campaign should they wish to do so.
A candidate can accept donations from individuals, corporations and other organizations up to a maximum of $5000 in either cash or other services that have a set value per donation.
“So it’s really anything with a value,” said Borsuk, “it could be property space or room rental.”
Volunteering for a campaign is exempt from the campaigning financing rules however.
“And it’s also important for candidates to remember that receipts must be issued for every…contribution that’s made to their campaign,” said Borsuk.
Should a candidate drop out of the race or have a surplus after the election, the money raised for the campaign will either be held in trust for the next election or it can be donated to a charity of the candidate’s choice or added to the city’s general revenues,
Candidates are also allowed to self-finance their campaigns up to a limit of $10,000.
A key difference in a self-funded campaign is that no notice of intent is needed prior to nomination day.
The city encourages prospective candidates to familiarize themselves with the laws governing local elections.
Regardless of how a candidate plans to fund their campaign it is important to understand the election rules.
“It’s important to read up on it ‘cause it is a very detailed topic and there are a lot of regulations around it,” said Borsuk.
Mayor Matthews recently wrote about how Chestermere supports both commercial and residential development as we pursue economic growth. One of our key economic development strategies is the future light industrial and business park, for which Chestermere owns the land.
Many Alberta municipalities own property in Alberta. Calgary has a land development corporation, Okotoks has industrial land, which they have developed, and Fort MacLeod, with fewer than 3,000 residents, has large lots available for industrial development. The examples go on and on. Municipalities own land for many purposes, namely to increase their non-residential tax base, diversify their businesses offerings for residents, and create local jobs. These benefits also apply to Chestermere.
Since much of our land is privately-owned, people frequently wonder why the City doesn’t encourage or wait on developers to bring us the businesses we want. In the simplest terms, developers have different objectives than the City. They want to increase their bottom line by developing their land, selling residential lots, and leasing their non-residential properties. As privately-owned operations, that’s how their success is measured. The City measures success by how many new businesses we bring to the community, how much our non-residential tax base increases, how many new local jobs (ideally, diverse and high-paying opportunities) we help create, and how economic activity, in general, goes up. We want a well-rounded community that meets our residents’ needs.
Chestermere is involved in every step of every development in our community. We are in a good position to manage the work and attract the right businesses. For example, because we own the future industrial land, we can be flexible about whether the land is leased or sold, depending on a company’s preference. Our planning and economic development departments have highly experienced and knowledgeable professional specialists for this work.
We are thrilled to be leading this exciting light industrial opportunity. Right now, the options for what businesses come in are limitless. Please contact me if you want to discuss this or any other topic.
Christopher Steeves, Councillor
City of Chestermere
Mayor Chestermere High School’s (CHS) band received a donation of $3000 from Scotiabank, matching funds raised by the band through a bottle drive.
The donation comes after staff, mostly parents volunteered with the bottle drive so that the band would be eligible for the matching funds as part of one of Scotiabank’s programs to give back to the community.
“They drove around with kids and collected bottles,” said Scotibank Manager Greg Moffatt.
CHS Music Director Lael Johnston said that the band has grown a lot in recent years.
“We’re currently over 108 members,” he said.
Donations and support like this are a key part in allowing the school to continue offering range of opportunities to the band.
Johnston said that he will be splitting the money raised by the bottle drive and the donation to support several different aspects of the band program.
“I’m planning on spreading it around a bit,” he said.
“We’ll use a portion of it to subsidize guest conductors and clinicians,” said Johnston.
It will also be used to cover the cost of travel and busing the band to and from the many community events that they perform at.
“Busing is expensive, busing 108 kids of course is even more expensive,” said Johnston.
Support from the community is important to the success of the program and shows the band they are valued in the community.
“It makes you feel appreciated,” said Johnston.
Aliens, Jedi and bounty hunters took over Chestermere High School for their annual spring fundraiser May 4.
The Star Wars theme for the night was chosen to coincide with the popular Star Wars play on words for May 4.
“May the fourth, referencing the Star Wars movies and ‘May the Force be with you’,” said CHS student Prime Minister Benjamin Robak who is in Grade 12.
This year the student government decided to support the Chestermere Regional Food Bank and the South East Rocky View Food Bank.
“Lately, with the economy the way it is, we’d been asked specifically by the Chestermere food bank to provide food and monetary donations because they were really running low,” he said.
“And so the students of Chestermere High decided to answer that call,” said Robak.
The evening was a pot luck event, with Star Wars themed activities and entertainment provided by the school’s band.
“We’ve got cookie decorating we have Star Wars trivia, and light saber battles and a bunch of different activities,” he said.
They were raising funds for the book banks through ticket sales, a raffle and also accepted both monetary and food donations.
Organizers didn’t have any specific goals for what they were hoping to raise during the event.
Chestermere Regional Food Bank President Vicki Osanyintola said that the food bank really appreciates the support of the students and their families.
“Our need at the food bank over the past few years has nearly doubled,” she said.
The food bank feeds up to 40 different families each month.
The event was organized and hosted by the student government and CHS’s GSA.
The City of Chestermere wants residents to know that they are ready in the event of a local emergency.
As part of Emergency Preparedness Week, the city is hosting an open house at the Chestermere Fire Hall May 13 to show residents some of the ways the city is prepared to deal with emergencies and to teach people how to be prepared for an emergency themselves.
“For us, it’s really important to show the community that we’re prepared as a city,” said City of Chestermere Acting Director of Emergency Management Donelda Laing.
While the city is ready, Laing said that it is equally important for families to be prepared and have a 72-hour plan should they ever have to evacuate or be told to shelter in place.
“We…wanted to prepare citizens to be ready for an emergency,” she said.
“A big part of emergency preparedness week is, you as a citizen, what can you do to prepare your family, to prepare your home,” said Laing.
In an emergency it, Laing said that it is critical for people not to panic, something that can be easier said than done for people who don’t regularly face high stress situations every day.
Knowing what to do and having an emergency plan to follow can have a significant impact on whether a person is able to stay calm during an emergency.
“It’s a difficult situation when there is an emergency,” said Laing, “our hope is that we can give people some resources and some information to help them be prepared.”
Some of the ways the city will be promoting preparedness at the open house include helping families prepare a 72-hour emergency kit and giving residents a chance to meet members of the Chestermere Emergency Management Agency.
Residents will be able to come and get advice and questions, such as what should one pack in a grab-and-go bag, answered by experts at the open house.
“We have materials and resources for people to say what are important documents to gather, what are the things you need to take with you when you have to leave,” said Laing.
Her goal for emergency preparedness week is that people will act on what they learn and take steps to prepare themselves for an emergency.
“Our hope is that people will get a 72-hour kit ready,” she said, “we’ll give them all the resources to do that.”
Key items that should be packed include, a crank or battery powered flashlight and radio, water, and canned food. People who have pets also need to have food and water for their pet.
There will also be fun activities, tours of the fire hall, a kid’s firefighter competition and a fire fit demonstration at the open house.
“Just to get our younger residents involved…let them see a different side of the emergency service, let them get involved with the actual firefighter, being involved with some of the activities that a firefighter would typically do,” said Chestermere Fire Services (CFS) Chief Brian Pomrenke.
In the event of an emergency, Pomrenke recommends that once people are out of immediate danger that they keep an eye on the city’s social media platforms for accurate and up to date information.
“You’re getting the facts from the city…rather than relying on some of the other social media,” he said.
When an emergency occurs, the city will use its website and social media accounts to provide reports from the staff who are involved in managing the situation
Congratulations to Jaeger Poffenroth and Elizabeth Tang for a strong showing at the ASAA Provincial Championships, this past weekend, in Red Deer. Elizabeth Tang lost only one round robin match, to a nationally ranked player, qualifying for the A event. She lost a tough quarter-final match and finished 5th. Jaeger played well, losing in the quarter-final of the B event. Congratulations to these two on an amazing high school career. Special thanks to Coaches Massig and Everson for all of their hard work this season
The teams were busy this past weekend. The girls participated in the Springbank and Highwood 7’s tournaments and the boys competed in the Highwood tournament. The experience was very valuable for both teams. This Friday the teams will participate in the first ever Rocky View 7’s Championship to be held at Springbank High School. Games start at 10:00 and carry on throughout the day. Best of luck to the three teams, from Chestermere, that will participate in this exciting event.
The boys opened the Rocky View season, this past week. They had mixed results, losing 5-1 against Bow Valley and defeating WH Croxford 5-3. They have another busy week with two more league games. This week they host George McDougall and travel to Cochrane. Best of luck to the team.
The track and field team is preparing for their season. Their first meet will be the Rocky View Championship, at Foothills Athletic Park, on Monday, May 15. The zone championship takes place the week after, on Tuesday, March 23. We are looking forward to some great results this track season.
COWBOYS FOOTBALL SPRING CAMP
The Cowboys spring football camp will take place from May 15 through May 26th. Practices will take place 4-5:30, Mondays through Thursdays, and 2:30-4 on Fridays. A parents meeting will take place on Wednesday, May 10th at 5:30. For more details contact Coach Ledieu or Coach Legault.
Before you list your home for sale--read these two articles--avoid legal issues that may arise from improper measuring--like Mike Holmes says "Do it Right".
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