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Squamish speaks! An introduction

Squamish Planning Council presents outcome of community forums

Editor's note: Over the next several weeks, The Chief will run a series of articles entitled "Squamish speaks!" dedicated to the outcome of a series of community forums held in each of Squamish's neighbourhoods held by the Social Planning Council over more than two years.

What do you value about Squamish and your neighbourhood? What's at risk in this time of rapid change? What can we as individuals and a community do to ensure a sustainable future for our town and our neighbourhoods?

Squamish residents addressed these and other questions during a series of five community forums held from Dec. 2007 to April 2009 and sponsored by the Squamish Social Planning Council. The forums were held over such a long span of time as the organization's members learned the best to partner and schedule the forums with neighbourhood groups while pacing volunteer efforts.

It provided time for neighbours came together in downtown Squamish, Brackendale, Valleycliffe/South Squamish, Garibaldi Estates and Highlands, and Dentville/North Yards to share food along with their concerns and ideas about the present and future of their communities.

And people had lots to say. Briefly summarized, these are some of the topics that concerned forum participants:

Conserving and protecting greenspaces while keeping them accessible to all

Preserving Squamish's distinct neighbourhoods and bringing residents together through community projects and gathering places

Protecting and nurturing Squamish's unique heritage and identity (i.e., not becoming a bedroom community for Whistler and Vancouver)

Supporting and encouraging a diverse population by ensuring a range of housing affordability, both for purchase and rental

Building greater trust and understanding with local government through better communication and more say by residents in the future of their community

The group will be producing a report for District of Squamish council suggesting actions local government can take to implement recommendations arising from the forums.

Anyone interested in reading the summarized results from the forums can go to the Social Planning Council website at, click on library, and then on Community Forum results.

The Social Planning Council will also be producing a summary report of the forum results in booklet form for use by residents and non-profit groups. For more information on the Social Planning Council and its work, or if you are interested in becoming a member, please visit its website or call 604-815-2158.

Next week, Downtown Squamish residents talk diversity, accessibility and affordable housing.

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