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Chestermere is slated for massive growth with 6 communities in the works

For Mathew and Colleen Jones, the bedroom community of Chestermere wasn’t really on their radar, but that all changed on a sunny weekend afternoon five years ago.

“We weren’t really looking for a new home, we just came out here one day and my wife decided she wanted to go and look at the show homes,” says Mathew.

Not long after that, the couple sold their home in Calgary’s Mayland Heights area and with their two young children in tow moved into their new home in Chestermere, a three-bedroom design by Broadview Homes on a corner lot in Kinniburgh South, just steps from East Lake School and a few blocks from the lake.

“It all just came together so quickly,” recalls Mathew.

That was in 2014, and the family has never looked back.

“We have zero plans of moving. Our neighbours are awesome. Here it has such a small town feel. We have block parties. In the evening, everyone is outside and talks to each other. The kids just go outside and play. It’s like I remember when I was a kid,” says Mathew.

Mathew and Colleen are in their late 30s. Colleen, who is a nurse, commutes 15 minutes to Calgary every day — the same amount of time that it took her to get to work from Mayland Heights — while Mathew works as an assistant supervisor for Broadview Homes in Chestermere and Langdon.

Close proximity to Calgary, as well as lifestyle and walkable schools are drawing people to Chestermere from Calgary and from around the region and country — one local real estate agent says she has had recent buyers from as far away as South Africa.

“Chestermere is one of the fastest growing communities in Canada, and we aren’t slowing down anytime soon,” says Chestermere’s mayor, Marshall Chalmers.

Over the past few decades it has grown from a small town with a population of just over 400 to a bonafide city (it gained its status in 2015) of almost 21,000 people.

It is also one of the youngest cities in the country — 55 per cent of the population is under 40.

“We are currently forecasting to have more than 50,000 residents by the year 2040. However, we are growing with sustainability in mind. We want to ensure that all residents, both current and future, can enjoy access to walking trails, properly designed transportation networks and friendly neighbourhoods,” says Chalmers.

The city boasts seven parks, a BMX park (it’s touted as the best in Western Canada), a skateboard park, three beaches and an interconnected and picturesque pathway and biking trail system that continues along the canal system right into the city of Calgary, ending at the Calgary Zoo.

And at the centre of it all is a tranquil 4.8-kilometre long lake that offers plenty of opportunity for residents to relax and enjoy.

But much like Calgary, Chestermere’s real estate market has had its ups and downs.

“The housing industry is on its ear across the nation,” says Bill Turnbull of Pollyco Development Inc., the developer behind Chestermere’s Kinniburgh. “It’s pretty simple, the stress test killed the market, along with two interest rate increases by the Bank of Canada.”

Several builders in Chestermere have gone out of business, but that has opened up opportunity.

Vancouver-based Alture Properties stepped in last January to purchase two projects that were in foreclosure in Kinniburgh — one included completed luxury duplex homes by ReidBuilt Homes. The adjacent property was slated for townhomes and has now been rebranded as Skylar Townhomes, a collection of two- and three-bedroom townhomes that range from 1,240 square feet to 1,700 square feet. The project is designed by BCW Architects.

Adding to those offerings, Pollyco has just released Kinniburgh’s final phase, a collection of 73 single-family estate lots, ranging from 50-foot frontages to 65-foot frontages.

Despite the recent economic outlook, Turnbull is optimistic for the future. “I would say that during the second half of 2019, it will pick up,” he says.

In fact he is counting on it. Pollyco has recently received area structure plan approvals for a new quarter section of land. The community will be called Waterford Estates and is located on Chestermere’s west side.

Pollyco’s new community joins five others that have recently been approved, including Qualico’s Dawson’s Landing (shovels are in the ground) and Anthem United’s Chelsea (show homes opening in the summer of 2019). Together the new developments will cover more than 648 hectares and will add new parks, trails, an eco-park that highlights the importance of wetland rehabilitation and a waterfront promenade.

And with the new communities will come brand new housing types, including live-work units, secondary suites, cottage cluster housing, laneless townhouses, back-to-back townhouses and multi-dwelling projects.

“One of our priorities is to increase the diversity of housing available so that residents of all ages and stages can find a home here,” says Chalmers.