As the community welcomes the warmer weather and prepares for enjoyable outdoor activities, including going to the beach on a hot summer day, the City of Chestermere is again taking steps to ensure the safety of all who want to enjoy Anniversary Park. Again this season, the City will be implementing the same protocols that had been put in place for the 2020 summer and that worked well. These protocols were developed in collaboration with Alberta Health Services, and based as well on the Guideline document from the Province.
“We had every hope that the pandemic would be behind us by now,” says Mayor Marshall Chalmers. “However, Chestermere has one of the highest rates of COVID per capita and the pandemic is still very much with us. With that in mind, we have made a decision to once again limit the number of guests at our beach to ensure that people can distance properly and enjoy a safe time at the lake.”
Chalmers says that because Chestermere residents pay taxes that maintain the parks already, non-residents will be required to again pay a fee to help cover the costs of the safety measures. In 2020, the non-residents' fee fully covered the additional costs to have the beaches used safely.
"Precautions, and restrictions, are still required under the Province’s Open for Summer 3-Stage Plan," says Bernie Morton, Chief Administrative Officer. "We look forward to reaching the milestones set by the Province. Until then, our COVID-Safety measures that worked well last season will be in place. Be safe."
Anniversary Park’s new restrictions will come into effect June 11 and include:
Capacity Limits: The limit is 615 people maximum in the park and only 115 on the beach area. If visitors (regardless of whether they are residents or not) come to the park and it is at capacity, they will need to wait or come back later. There will not be a time limit on how long visitors can stay at the park once admitted.
Weekend & Holiday Admission Fees: The City will charge admission fees for non-residents Friday to Sunday and on statutory holidays. Fees are:
- $25 for a family pass or
- $10 per person over 16 years of age
- $5 for anyone between 3 to 15 years of age
- Free for infants under 3
Chestermere residents over the age of 16 will need to prove residency by showing identification before being allowed complimentary entry. This can be a driver’s license, mail, or school ID. An adult resident can also vouch for another person’s residency.
Once visitors have paid or been verified as a Chestermere resident, beachgoers will be given a wristband that allows access to the park that day, provided the park is not already at capacity. People with a wristband will be permitted to leave the beach area and return as they need, so long as the maximum capacity isn’t reached.
Parking: Visitors may park in the designated areas in the Rec Centre parking lot across the street but parking restrictions along West Chestermere Drive are in place. Parking directly in the Anniversary Park lot will also be closed off to provide room for queuing and handicap parking only.
“We had a beautiful weekend on May 15, but unfortunately, many people ignored social distancing requirements and we heard complaints that the beach was overcrowded. By implementing these safety protocols, we can ensure that all visitors can have a safe and enjoyable experience at the beach this summer,” says Kathy Russell, the City of Chestermere’s Director of Community Operations.
Fencing at the beach will go up at the beginning of June and fees will come into effect June 11. The City’s other parks may see additional measures put in place if overcrowding and social distancing are a challenge there as well. The City will monitor the protocols over the summer and may also adjust based on guidance from Alberta Health Services.
If you plan to visit a Chestermere beach or lakeside park, here is what you need to know:
- If you are sick, you must stay home. People who have travelled internationally in the last 14 days, or are a close contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19 in the past 14 days, are not permitted. Visitors should always maintain two meters of physical distancing during all types of activities.
- Plan ahead. The beach may be full by the time you arrive, and you will need to wait or find alternate arrangements.
- Beaches and lakeside parks are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. Booking a spot in advance is not an option.
- BBQs are not permissible in the beach area.
- Shade shelters under 10x10 feet are permitted on the grass, and shade options that do not need to be staked down are permitted on the sand area.
- Visitors are encouraged to wear a mask other than when they are in the water. The Province is currently advising that COVID-19 transmission through water is presently unknown, and people entering the water do so at their own risk.
- The Province advises beachgoers to avoid sharing items such as food, toys and supplies with people who don’t live with you.
- If visitors do not respect health regulations, the RCMP or public health inspectors are authorized to enforce orders under the Provincial Health Act. Visitors violating the orders will be asked to leave and may be fined. Regular patrols will be occurring in the parks and beaches. The City can also limit or close the beaches if necessary.
Visit Bylaw #006-21, Temporary Beaches and Recreational Areas Near Water Bylaw or www.chestermere.ca/beaches for more information.