Just 23 km east of downtown Calgary lies the lake community of Chestermere, a pleasant community offering that much sought after small-town atmosphere. The population is roughly 18,000 full-time residents, which is a spectacular increase of 300 per cent over the last dozen years. Despite dynamic growth and gaining city status in January 2015, Chestermere civic leaders are determined to keep Chestermere a tight-knit, friendly community while providing residents with big-city amenities.
A Former Resort
Chestermere Lake was created on open plain by the Western Irrigation District more than 100 years ago. Not wanting to waste a perfectly good lake, people from the surrounding area began to build summer cabins beside the lake and by the 1960s, residents of the summer village wanted more amenities in the community. The lake was dredged, fire and protection services were added, roads and street lights were improved, a community hall was built and then, a golf course. Residential construction on new communities began in the late 1980s and the place has been booming ever since. The constant building in Chestermere has not appeared to have eroded that pleasant, easy resort-atmosphere to the city.
Maintaining that Small Town Feel
Patricia Matthews is the mayor of Chestermere, a long-time resident who has worked hard to manage the town’s growth. Parcels of land have been annexed in stages, and at present, there is capacity for up to 50,000 future residents. Matthews and her council fastidiously adhere to an up-to-date master plan which includes provision for roads, municipal services and amenities. In 2014, a master plan was also completed to ensure provision for Chestermere’s future recreational needs. A new baseball diamond will soon be built beside Chestermere Middle School and a feasibility study is underway for a major sports and leisure complex. The municipality holds many events each year, including a winter carnival, a water carnival in the summer and several arts celebrations. Particularly because two thirds of residents work outside of the city, these events keep families in Chestermere engaged and connected.
A Walkable Community
Residents can still walk to the store or to the skating rink and see people they know. At least 33 per cent of the population is under the age of 21 indicating a high number of young families and the need for affordable, family-friendly housing and community amenities. Chestermere has a public library, 10 churches, three medical clinics and a wellness centre, physiotherapy and dental clinics, recreation centre, major grocery stores, and commuter buses to downtown Calgary. Driving in Chestermere is almost optional.
Chestermere Home Prices
The average home price in Chestermere is $771,047, with the highest property listed at $13M and the lowest at $215,000. This wide variance is due to larger, executive-style homes situated on valuable lake-front property and agricultural land contained within town limits. There are many single-family detached homes in the high $400s, low $500,00s in Chestermere. Condominiums, semi-detached and detached homes are still offered at lower price points those similar properties in Calgary. This, combined with a slower-paced lifestyle just 15 short minutes away from the city, makes Chestermere a great choice for families.
Keeping Property Tax in Check
The City of Chestermere recently purchased 101 acres of land earmarked for light industrial development in a bid to diversify the tax base. Because Chestermere residents represent 96 per cent of the tax base, carrying the burden for municipal infrastructure and facilities, non-residential development is one of the keys to a sustainable community.