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New Squamish youth hub collects design feedback

Organizations host town hall for youth, community input

Members of the public got a chance to weigh in on how the new Foundry Squamish Centre and Youth Hub should look during a town hall last week.

The event took place at the Squamish United Church—with COVID-19 precautions in place—on Friday, Sept. 11, and Saturday, Sept. 12, with special time set aside for youth to weigh in on the building’s interior design.

“We’ve been keeping a really concerned eye on the news, what the recommendations are from the province and making sure that we are setting up in regards to concerns around COVID [and create] an event that is as safe as possible, while still having that element to allow people to come, engage and really provide their input behind the project we’re doing here,” says Cydney Lyons, the acting manager of youth services at Sea to Sky Community Services. “What’s awesome about the Foundry model is the fact that we do a lot engagement and really represent that engagement in the final product.”

To that end, the town hall featured several tables with everything from furniture swatches to floor plans for participants to draw on.

“We’ll work with the youth again tonight and walk through the materials and the finishes and all the furniture options and really tailor it so that they can see it come to life,” said Vanessa Jansen, owner of Work Design Studios, on Friday.

After a forthcoming online survey to seek feedback from people who were unable to attend the sessions, the group will “synthesize that feedback into what we build and how we choose our products,” Jansen said.

Meanwhile, at another table, Seren Friskie, youth peer engagement coordinator with Foundry BC, a province-wide network of integrated health and social service centres for people aged 12 go 24, offered an example of how youth feedback shapes their projects.

“We don’t just share the building and say, ‘What do you think?’” she said. “[We offer] some guiding questions like, ‘if you were coming for a sexual health clinic or if you were coming for an appointment where you were trying to get birth control, would you like a room where the door is right in front of the entrance or would you like a private area?’ ‘What would make, say, a clinical space look good to you?’ …

Some of the youth in Squamish were actually like, ‘I want to see green. I want more plants.’”

The Buckley Avenue project will see Foundry fund $800,000 of the project, run by Sea to Sky Community Services. That funding is earmarked for creating a support centre that will be part of the overall Youth Hub.

The aim is to have the building up and running in 2022.

“There’s going to be a capital campaign happening, but more information on that is coming down the line,” Lyons said.

For more on the project, or to weigh in on the online survey, follow Squamish Youth Services and Sea to Sky Community Services on Facebook and Instagram.