Chestermere may soon be expanding their town to include 2,400 acres of residential and business development thanks to a project known as Waterbridge, which could attract more than 46,000 new residents.

“The Town of Chestermere annexed the Waterbridge land in 2009. They annexed the land because it allowed them to control growth adjacent to them, rather than if Calgary annexed it, they would have had no control over how these lands would develop,” said Pam MacInnis, associate with Brown & Associates Planning Group.

The area expands from Rainbow Road in Chestermere to Calgary’s city limits, and from the Trans- Canada Highway to Township Road 240.

“Waterbridge will be primarily residential development but it will include a regional town centre, two village centres to serve the local communities, and various neighbourhood nodes to serve as gathering places and provide a social focus for neighbourhoods,” said MacInnis.

There will be a recreation centre, a new high school and a variety of new school sites, said MacInnis. In the north portion of Waterbridge there will be a light industrial and a business park, this area will provide a higher tax base for the town and employment opportunities.

“A regional pathway and open space system will connect each community to the village centres and the Town Centre, providing opportunities for residents to walk or cycle to work or local amenities for shopping, recreation or entertainment.”

MacInnis said, “Waterbridge will integrate the natural topography with the management of stormwater to create a waterscaped theme throughout Waterbridge. This vision builds upon Chestermere’s recreation vision as the ‘Recreation and relaxation oasis of Alberta’.”

In 1993 the population of Chestermere was just over 1,000 people, in 2012 there were about 16,000 people, with Waterbridge the population is expected to quadruple.

MacInnis explained that the project needs to go to a public hearing and two more readings of the bylaw. After that process is approved, smaller area structure plans will be prepared, providing more details on how smaller areas will be developed. Construction is expected to start in 2015.