Visiting one of Calgary’s closest beaches will cost you if you’re not a resident of Chestermere.
On Tuesday, Chestermere city council voted 7-1 to adopt a user-fee model to help cover the costs of running the beach and on-site facilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mayor Marshall Chalmers said the user fee is to pay for fencing and security that helps keep the beach under its maximum capacity of 615 people.
“As Chestermere, residents already pay for the maintenance of the beaches, adding an admission fee for those who do not live in our community will help to offset the costs of keeping visitors safe during this global pandemic,” the mayor said.
The fees will be waived for anyone who lives in Chestermere, as long as they can prove their residency with a piece of ID or mail.
For everyone else, they’ll have to pay the following amounts:
- Regular fee (15 years or older): $15
- Youth fee (three to 14 years old): $5
- Family (includes two adults, three youths and unlimited infants): $40
- Infants under two are free
The bylaw allows the city to waive the fees if there is bad weather or if the beach isn’t at capacity, but how that will be communicated isn’t clear.
Chalmers said the bylaw will also expire at the end of 2020 but it could be extended or amended.
“At the end of this year, we will review its effectiveness and need for the future,” the mayor said. “That way, we can ensure we are still following the best ways to keep our residents and visitors safe, even as they enjoy our city.”
During Tuesday’s council meeting, Chalmers said several people living close to the beach want to see permanent measures in place to control crowds.
Mark Mandel and his family waited in line to get on the beach on Tuesday for half an hour and said the fees would deter him from visiting again this summer.
“I think that it’s too high,” he said. “If you’re going to charge something, charge something more reasonable like maybe $20 or $25 a family instead of $40.”
Calgarian Richard Arsenault said he’ll also be changing his plans.
“I kind of get the idea of recovering some of your costs and maybe turn some people away so it makes it a bit easier to manage,” he said. “But you know, $40 seems like a lot when there’s a lot of things you could do for that money.”
Resident agrees with fees
Veronica Boudreau lives near the Chestermere beach and said several of her neighbours agree with the new fee for non-residents to cover the extra costs.
“We pay high taxes in Chestermere as it is, and I guess I looked at it as this is going to be adding to our tax bill with the fees to keep all this in place.”
She added that the fee seems expensive but that it should have the desired effect.