Chestermere’s relaxed lakeside lifestyle is attracting new residents

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Links to the breadcrumb trail

Properties in the neighboring city of Calgary offer price advantages for similar houses

Author of the article:

Cindy Stephen for the Calgary Herald

Publication date:

07/09/202133 minutes agoRead for 4 minutes Join the conversation Jordan Matthews and Aleah Edwards enjoy the view of Lake Chestermere. Jordan Matthews and Aleah Edwards enjoy the view of Lake Chestermere. Photo by Don Molyneaux /Postal media

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The journey from Calgary to Chestermere along the 17th Avenue SE corridor takes no time – maybe two songs on the radio and a commercial break. Where the Calgary city limits end at 284 Range Road, Chestermere’s begins. The former summer village, now a city with more than 21,000 inhabitants, resembles a suburb in many ways and many Calgarians want to live there.

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Jordan Matthews, a personal trainer and fitness entrepreneur, and his friend Aleah Edwards were determined to build a home for their blended family in Chestermere. Matthews’ mother grew up by the lake and has many fond childhood memories. Edwards was already a Chestermerian when he met her. It was both nostalgic and comfortable to be there and, as they found out, relatively affordable. They’re building a 2,400-square-foot front-wheel drive house on a picket in the Chelsea community of Anthem United. Luxuria Homes is building the home for significantly less than a similar model in Calgary.

“We can make the same build for $ 100,000 less. Literally, ”says Matthews.

Luxuria is one of four construction companies in Chelsea, which is to the east of the city. It was named New Community of the Year 2020 at the 2020 Building Industry Land Development (BILD) Calgary Region Awards earlier this year.

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Chelsea and its neighbor, Dawson’s Landing by Qualico Communities, are two of six new neighborhoods in Chestermere that were approved by the council in 2017. The others are Bridgeport (WestCreek Developments), Waterford Stage 1 and Stage 2 (Douglas Developments), and South Shores (Edgewater Communities.)). Another 580 acre property east of Chestermere is proposed for Clearwater Park (Centron Group).

Chestermere is well prepared for growth. The city expropriated a huge amount of land from Rocky View County in 2009 in anticipation of at least 50,000 homes. That pushed the eastern borders of the city towards Calgary.

“Occasionally I thought with Mayor Nenshi that I might have to annex part of his city,” says Marshall Chalmers, who was elected mayor in 2017.

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Both municipalities have chosen a cooperative approach to residential development and the associated infrastructure.

Chestermeres Water and Sewage comes from Calgary and returns to Calgary. Plans for Calgary Transit to officially post 17th Avenue SE BRT, also known as Max Purple, to Chestermere in September are currently being finalized. Chestermere, in turn, sees Calgary as part of the catchment area for a new community center complex that will break the ground at Dawson’s Landing in August.

“It doesn’t make sense for the City of Calgary to build a pool on one side of the Stoney Trail and we’re building one on the other. We work collaboratively – it’s regional, ”says Chalmers.

Phase 1 of the complex will include a sports field house and an outdoor area with preliminary plans for Phase 2 that could include hockey arenas, a water center, library and community building.

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Chalmers says moving on to the second phase depends on future community growth and affordability.

“We design it so that there will be additions – we just don’t know what yet. The country is there and the nice thing is that we have three schools around it, ”he says.

The city is struggling with its property taxes as commercial and industrial development has not kept pace with explosive housing growth. A healthy tax balance is 70 percent residential and 30 percent commercial, while Chestermere is more like a 95/5 split.

“We have economic incentives to stimulate our commercial and industrial economies. We have been amazing at finding efficiencies and cutting expenses when and where needed, which has been achieved through a lot of internal restructuring, ”he says, noting that the local council has cut property tax bills for residents for the past four consecutive years.

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Chestermere’s only golf facility, Lakeside Greens Golf Club, was the focus of community discussions in 2021. Slokker Homes, a partner in the club’s owning group, began a public consultation in the spring about a possible closure due to financial stress and subsequent redevelopment. The backlash from local residents was quick and a formal application was not submitted to the city. Chalmers says they closed the file on the redevelopment but heard that the developer could recheck things in 2022.

“We have a legal obligation to endorse (a proposal) when they make an application,” he says.

Chalmers admits that Chestermere is grateful to work with Calgary because it is best for the region and for the people. But the city is determined to maintain its identity as a lakeside community even as it grows and diversifies.

“People choose Chestermere for its ambience. There is something amazing about coming home to a quiet and peaceful place. Our crime rates are low. Even if we are like a suburb, we want to preserve this lakeside, water-oriented lifestyle for all of our residents, ”he says.

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