The City of Chestermere is once again taking steps to ensure beach-goers enjoy fun in the sun safely this summer by re-establishing the health protocols put in place last year at Anniversary Park.
The protocols, developed in collaboration with Alberta Health Services, will see capacity limits starting June 3 and fees for non-residents of Chestermere who wish to enjoy the popular lakeside park starting June 11.
“The city recognizes that the beach is a well-loved public amenity,” said Kate Richards, community recreation coordinator for the City of Chestermere. “But during this pandemic, we need to manage capacity to ensure that users can distance properly and enjoy a safe time at the lake.”
She added the City’s parks and recreation team will manage the fencing around the park, education, and fee collection this summer to ensure safety protocols are in place. RCMP and Municipal Enforcement members will also be assisting with monitoring the park this summer to ensure compliance with public health orders.
“We had every hope that the pandemic would be behind us now,” said Mayor Marshall Chalmers in a City press release. “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.”
The mayor added that residents’ taxes go toward maintaining the parks year-round, so Chestermerians will not be required to pay a fee. Non-residents, however, will have to help cover the costs of the added safety measures.
The City will charge an admission fee to non-residents from Friday to Sunday and on statutory holidays. Visitors will have the choice of paying $25 per day for a family pass, $10 per person over 16 years of age or $5 per person for visitors between three and 15 years of age. Visitors under the age of three can access the park for free.
According to Kathy Russell, the City’s director of community operations, turnout at the park on May 15 was greater than expected and many visitors ignored social distancing measures.
“We heard complaints that the beach was overcrowded,” she said in a City press release. “By implementing these safety protocols, we can ensure that all visitors can have a safe and enjoyable experience at the beach this summer.”
Richards said the City will be tracking how many beach-goers are in the park at one time and will stop allowing additional patrons once a limit of 615 people (115 on the beach) has been met. There will also be a time limit on how long visitors can visit the park once they have been admitted.
“It’s important to note that the City will monitor the protocols over the summer and may adjust based on guidance from Alberta Health Services,” she added.
Parking restrictions will be put in place along West Chestermere Drive, according to the City, and parking in the Anniversary Park parking lot will also be closed to provide ample room for queuing and handicap parking. Visitors will be required to park in designated areas in the Recreation Centre parking lot across the street.
“We hope the public can enjoy the weather and the sunshine safety at Anniversary Park all summer long,” said Richards.
For additional information regarding safety protocols at Anniversary Park, visit bit.ly/2S1n8n0
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