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