Recreation Lake Safety Management Plan - Draft Lake Use Bylaw

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In 2018-2019 the City embarked on the development of a Recreation Lake Safety Management Plan to detail how the City can help to improve safety on Chestermere Lake for all users.

In 2019 the Recreation Lake Safety Management Plan was completed and approved by Council. Based on the recommendations made in the Plan, pilot safety initiatives were successfully implemented during the 2019 spring/summer season. The initiatives included an electronic boat launch permit system, a lake safety education program and a safety and speed limit buoys system.

To find out more about these initiatives please visit: www.chestermere.ca/boats

Draft Lake Use Bylaw Update, Jan. 29, 2021

Lakefront Stakeholders and the general public were consulted through a 4-week online engagement process to review and provide feedback on the draft Lake Use Bylaw. Administration found that public feedback on the draft bylaw was mixed, with areas of concern regarding the proposal of increased boating permit requirements, possible fees and unhappiness regarding the increased Municipal involvement in regulating recreation activity on and around the Lake. Lakefront commercial and not-for-profit stakeholders mirrored the same sentiments as the general public.

Additional consultation with Transport Canada revealed areas of the bylaw that were in contravention with Federal laws and upon further analysis of the draft, suggested that sections of the bylaw be reviewed to ensure that the goal of safety improvement was being met while ensuring public access wasn’t being compromised.

Vessel Operator Restriction Regulations (VORRs)

Transport Canada suggested that some safety concerns surrounding events and boating near WID infrastructure could be better managed with the application of a VORR. It is Administration’s intention to take this route and apply for VORRs for event management and to ensure boaters are required to stay a safe distance away from the weirs. This process can take up to two years due to the public consultation and documentation requirements the Federal government necessitates.

Revised Lake Use Bylaw

Based on all the data and feedback collected, Administration has adjusted the bylaw to include essential clauses that will support a safer experience for users on the water, at public beaches and the winter lake ice surface in 2021. Administration believes that more public engagement needs to be completed, to ensure in future that the bylaw captures the outstanding safety needs that require more in-depth discussion and collaboration with the public and lakefront stakeholders.

Administration now plans to present an updated draft of Lake Use Bylaw 004-20 for discussion with Council on Feb. 9, 2021, and if approved, bring it forward for first reading on Feb. 16, 2021. Additional public engagement opportunities will be planned for future years to collect further data to inform future amendments to the bylaw to better encapsulate safety needs on the lake.

To review the updated bylaw visit the forum tabs on this page. There you can read the redline version and final draft bylaw and provide comments, questions and general feedback.

The forums will be open until Feb. 9th.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Do you have more questions about this project?

Please contact Kate Richards, Community Recreation Coordinator at krichards@chestermere.ca or (403) 207-2807

In 2018-2019 the City embarked on the development of a Recreation Lake Safety Management Plan to detail how the City can help to improve safety on Chestermere Lake for all users.

In 2019 the Recreation Lake Safety Management Plan was completed and approved by Council. Based on the recommendations made in the Plan, pilot safety initiatives were successfully implemented during the 2019 spring/summer season. The initiatives included an electronic boat launch permit system, a lake safety education program and a safety and speed limit buoys system.

To find out more about these initiatives please visit: www.chestermere.ca/boats

Draft Lake Use Bylaw Update, Jan. 29, 2021

Lakefront Stakeholders and the general public were consulted through a 4-week online engagement process to review and provide feedback on the draft Lake Use Bylaw. Administration found that public feedback on the draft bylaw was mixed, with areas of concern regarding the proposal of increased boating permit requirements, possible fees and unhappiness regarding the increased Municipal involvement in regulating recreation activity on and around the Lake. Lakefront commercial and not-for-profit stakeholders mirrored the same sentiments as the general public.

Additional consultation with Transport Canada revealed areas of the bylaw that were in contravention with Federal laws and upon further analysis of the draft, suggested that sections of the bylaw be reviewed to ensure that the goal of safety improvement was being met while ensuring public access wasn’t being compromised.

Vessel Operator Restriction Regulations (VORRs)

Transport Canada suggested that some safety concerns surrounding events and boating near WID infrastructure could be better managed with the application of a VORR. It is Administration’s intention to take this route and apply for VORRs for event management and to ensure boaters are required to stay a safe distance away from the weirs. This process can take up to two years due to the public consultation and documentation requirements the Federal government necessitates.

Revised Lake Use Bylaw

Based on all the data and feedback collected, Administration has adjusted the bylaw to include essential clauses that will support a safer experience for users on the water, at public beaches and the winter lake ice surface in 2021. Administration believes that more public engagement needs to be completed, to ensure in future that the bylaw captures the outstanding safety needs that require more in-depth discussion and collaboration with the public and lakefront stakeholders.

Administration now plans to present an updated draft of Lake Use Bylaw 004-20 for discussion with Council on Feb. 9, 2021, and if approved, bring it forward for first reading on Feb. 16, 2021. Additional public engagement opportunities will be planned for future years to collect further data to inform future amendments to the bylaw to better encapsulate safety needs on the lake.

To review the updated bylaw visit the forum tabs on this page. There you can read the redline version and final draft bylaw and provide comments, questions and general feedback.

The forums will be open until Feb. 9th.

We look forward to hearing from you!

Do you have more questions about this project?

Please contact Kate Richards, Community Recreation Coordinator at krichards@chestermere.ca or (403) 207-2807

Q&A

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    I find that there is a need to simply enforce the boating regulations on the lake. Please see the following, taken from the boating safety manual: (many are reinforced by regulations with the potential for fines) Every boat equipped with a motor other than a stock (unmodified) outboard engine must have a muffler and use it while operating within five nautical miles (9.26 km) of shore. Province-Wide Shoreline Speed Limits Some provinces have adopted speed limits of 10 km/h within 30 m (98’5”) of shore on all waters within their boundaries. This speed limit applies in Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and the inland waters of British Columbia and Nova Scotia. Navigation lights are only required if you operate the boat after sunset, before sunrise or in periods of restricted visibility (fog, falling snow, etc.). You may not tow anyone when visibility is poor or from one hour after sunset to sunrise. Stay alert! At high speeds, it is hard to see swimmers, water skiers, divers and other PWCs in time to avoid them. Impaired driving on the water Boating under the influence of alcohol, or drugs is illegal. It is also a danger to yourself and others. Staying sober is your responsibility Boating while drinking or taking drugs can lead to dangerous situations. When boating impaired , you are not just a danger to yourself but to others too. Each time you operate a boat, you are responsible for the safety of your guests and other people using the waterway. You must always be prepared and alert. And now my personal opinion... The current buoys are too far from shore and as a result push all the boaters into a tighter area, potentially increasing the potential for conflict. Simply enforcing the rules around boating would make the lake safer than any other initiative that we could undertake. Now that we charge a huge sum of money to launch, perhaps we should include a kitchen catcher or some facsimile to put your garbage in, and drop when you pull your boat out. Thank you,

    Sam5 asked about 2 years ago

    Hi there, thanks for your feedback! Chestermere RCMP, Fire Services and Community Peace Officers will all have a greater presence on the Lake this season. Enhanced boat patrols are in place to check vessel compliance, educate lake users on safe operation, deter unsafe operation habits, and when required enforce applicable legislation on the lake. We have also implemented a Lake safety education plan that includes a brochure given to all users entering the Lake from our municipal boat launch and has been distributed to all lakefront businesses to distribute as well. Finally, with regards to our perimeter buoys, we do realize a few of these buoys may need to be adjusted to ensure they are 30 meters from shore. We will be collecting information about the placement and effectiveness of the buoys over the next 6 -8 weeks and will make adjustments as we move forward with these lake safety intiatives.

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    Does anyone police the type of watercraft or "floatie" that people are using on the lake. I see where someone was wanting to put a whole bunch of people including little kids on one of those huge inflatable swans that you see online. If a storm front blew through that would be very dangerous because those things cannot be paddled ashore quickly, or paddled anywhere but downstream or downwind. A see Fleuger's couch pontoon would be equally awash in a blow, but surely he keeps life jackets for all onboard and is a very experienced weather watcher.

    Todd McBride asked over 2 years ago

    Hi Todd,

    Thank you for your feedback. We will definitely consider the safety challenges regarding inflatable boats and swim aids when developing a safety education plan for the Lake this summer.  

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    Does the RCMP not provide excellent protection of the Lake and surrounding area regarding boating safety etc ? As well as Fire/Rescue? Boaters/watercraft users are regulated, and the vast majority of lakefront homeowners/residents tend to clean up weeds, floating debris, and many times boats. I may be proven incorrect, but I believe that the only control to the City of Chestermere is access and egress. Bottom line

    WHandberg asked over 2 years ago

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your feedback. The City has received complaints regarding safety on the Lake and is ultimately liable for the recreation activity on the Lake, as per our agreement with WID.  With respect to better understanding the safety issues on the lake, there is a need to better understand the current dynamics on the Lake between users.  As such, the 2019 summer season will provide the opportunity to obtain further data and to pilot specific safety initiatives to ensure that they are addressing the root causes of the concern, not just implementing safety initiatives that may not be relevant. The City will continue to enforce Lake safety through continued RCMP and Municipal Enforcement presence and provide public education on safe boating activity using the current federal small vessel regulations and any pilot initiatives will be non-regulatory in nature. 

    Don't hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions.


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    Perhaps unfounded, but this initiative has me concerned that someone has an agenda that is not transparent or in the best interest of the majority of primary users. What led to the initiation of this initiative? I would argue that the 'primary users' are, for the most part, the lakefront owners - but perhaps a handful of others who use the lake regularly (based on my observations only as, admittedly, a lakefront owner). As a result, I believe that any consideration of restrictions must be conducted carefully and in the open, and (most importantly) based upon a real risk assessment (an objective combination of frequency and consequence). I would also argue that the interests of the majority of primary users are held paramount, so that no small group of individuals may push an agenda that is disagreeable to others. In my view, a risk assessment provides some assurance that additional restrictions would address real and persistent problems/issues. These risk assessments are standard practice within the safety industry, and should be used here for the same purposes. Thank you for providing this forum, as I am unable to participate in the open houses or online discussions due to work commitments.

    dcl211 asked over 2 years ago

    Thank you for your comments and perspective. The City is embarking on this project by soliciting feedback from a variety of lake user groups, and will also be learning more about each user type experience in more detail in January.  In addition to public consultation, the City is consulting with experts in lake use management, risk management and boating safety. Careful attention will be paid to ensuring that all perspectives will be considered.  With respect to better understanding the safety issues on the lake, there is a need to better understand the current dynamics from both a quantitative and qualitative approach.  As such, the 2019 summer season will provide the opportunity to obtain further data and to pilot specific safety initiatives to ensure that they are addressing the root causes of the concern. The City will continue to enforce and provide public education on safe boating activity using the current federal small vessel regulations and any pilot initiatives will be non-regulatory in nature.  


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    This forum seems kind of backwards. Nobody has provided any stats on actual lake safety. ie: boat accidents, RV accidents, drownings or any info at all for us to comment on. I see in the comments a lot of assumptions and wishful thinking but I think that first we need to know what issues we are addressing?

    Daniel Gretener asked over 2 years ago

    Hi Daniel,

    Thanks for your feedback. The intention of the forum, open houses and surveys is for data collection purposes. We want to know what lake users are experiencing on the Lake to better understand the relevant safety issues. 

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    Are people required to show their boating license when launching at the launch? We find ppl who live on the lake/ chestermere are the ones following proper boat etiquette and rules when driving, the jet ski rentals and people not from chestermere tend to be the ones who are making it dangerous to do lake activities ( cutting other boats off, driving carelessly or following wake boats wake very closely while there’s a surfer or wake boarder in the water etc). ( we have personally had quiet a few of these incidents this past summer) I hope they come up with something to ensure anyone driving a boat has a license before launching.

    Nkolevris asked over 2 years ago

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your question. Yes, all boaters must provide proof of a pleasure craft license before they are permitted to use the City's boat launch.

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    Just wondering if people from Calgary have to pay to use the beach? I believe the lake has become a go-to recreation area from people who are not paying taxes in Chestermere.

    Wendy asked over 2 years ago

    Hi Wendy,

    Visitors from out of town do not currently have to pay to use our beaches. Phase 1 of the Lake Safety Plan is focusing only on on-lake safety and activity but we are aware that the beaches are quite busy during the summer months and are looking to develop solutions to ensure our beaches remain safe and accessible to the public.

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    Will the City buy easements on waterfront properties for a lake side pathway? If not why not?

    Rbauhuis asked over 2 years ago

    Hi there,

    Thanks for your question. The waterfront easements were sold by W.I.D to Lakefront Homeowners, thus the City is unable to develop this area as part of the pathway system. However, the City is working towards extending the external pathway system around the Lake in the future.