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Updated: See opening of Squamish’s Sp’akw’us Feather Park

On May 25, the park on the shores of Howe Sound officially opened to the public.

A ceremony early Saturday morning marked the official opening of Sp’akw’us Feather Park and then hundreds showed up in the afternoon.

In the morning on May 25, over 100 invited attendees packed the Presentation Centre down at Oceanfront Squamish to celebrate the opening of the oceanside park. Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation) hereditary Chief Dale Harry started the ceremony that honoured many community members who contributed to the newest amenity.

Harry was especially complimentary of the developer Matthews West.

“They listened and they heard the Squamish Nation,” he said. “You'll see that reflected in the park.”

Early morning risers could be seen perusing the new amenity which has a playground, two beaches, lawn areas, local art, and more. And by the official 2 p.m. opening, hundreds of people were at the park from families to windsports athletes to slackliners.

In a news release leading up to the opening, president of Matthews West, John Matthews, said there is still some work to be done but they couldn’t wait any longer to open the park.

“While we still have some work to finalize on the park, we didn’t want to wait any longer to share this space with our community. Squamish has been an oceanfront town without access to the water for too long,” he said.

Additionally, in the release, Nation spokesperson and councillor, Sxwixwtn Wilson Williams, highlighted the work that Nation children and youth added to the park.

“I’m particularly proud of the work of our Squamish mén̓men (children) in designing the playground based on an important Squamish oral history—this important piece of cultural recognition will remind everyone who visits that they are on Squamish land,” he said.

The playground has QR codes that will play audio recordings of local children and youth from St’a7mes Elementary, who share Nation stories and culture from the surrounding land. Additional signage with Nation culture and language is installed throughout the park as well.

The District of Squamish will officially take over maintenance of the park, though Matthews West will maintain some permitting requirements for a few years. The District has budgeted $1.2 million for lighting, signage, contribution to the playground, furnishings, sod lawn and wi-fi conduit.

From June 10 to Sept. 2, 2024, seasonal public transit will run via Route 5 South Parks—resulting in 13 trips on weekdays and 12 trips on the weekends and holidays. The hope is to have year-round transit service in the future.

Construction on the park began around August 2021. Since the park was secured as an amenity in 2010, it tripled in cost, going from $10 million to $30 million. That cost is being covered entirely by Matthews West.

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