Sp’akw’us Feather Park: A Community Vision 20 Years in the Making

Words By Taylor Wood

Announcements

Sp’akw’us Feather Park: A Community Vision 20 Years in the Making

Words By Taylor Wood

Squamish, BC – May 22, 2024 – The District of Squamish and local developer Matthews West are thrilled to announce May 25 as the soft opening of Sp’akw’us Feather Park, a remarkable new addition to the community of Squamish. The culmination of a vision 20 years in the making, the 11-acre municipal-owned park was realized through the dedicated efforts of Matthews West, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw (Squamish Nation), and the District of Squamish. 

Sp’akw’us Feather Park transforms the tip of the Oceanfront Peninsula into a beautiful and vibrant community gathering space. The oceanfront park features multiple significant art pieces by local artists including James Harry and Maskull Lassere; a playground designed in collaboration with Indigenous youth that retells Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw stories of the land; slackline posts; lawn area designed for a sound stage; and cultural gardens with an area for outdoor classes. This transformation represents more than a decade of community visioning, planning, collaboration, and input, showcasing the developer’s commitment to excellence, sustainability, and community engagement.

“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,” said John Matthews, President of Matthews West. Some work on the park will continue into the summer, which may impact park access, including the installation of the final art piece by Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw artist James Harry entitled Welcome Gate.

Over the past four years, this area has been a hub of construction activity. Eleven acres of land has been reclaimed, extensive environmental remediation conducted, and the site has been elevated to address sea level rise concerns. The park not only helps mitigate future sea level rise but includes a seismic berm to further stabilize the peninsula.

Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw is thrilled to have Sp’akw’us Feather Park at Oceanfront Squamish open in time for summer. “This gem of an outdoor space is the first physical fruit of our partnership with Matthews West, and we know it will be enjoyed by the Squamish community for years to come” shares Sxwixwtn, Wilson Williams, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw Spokesperson and Council Member.  Sxwixwtn believes that “Sp’akw’us Feather Park truly exemplifies the calibre of the ongoing legacy projects Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw and our partners will continue to contribute to our People and the wider community. 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.”

“This is an incredible milestone that is both a finish line and beginning of a complete community with housing, walkways, greenspaces and industries that will leave a legacy for our community today, and for many generations to come,” says District of Squamish Mayor Armand Hurford. “I would like to acknowledge previous Councils who put the work into developing a complex agreement that marked the beginning a 20-year vision that is now becoming a reality for Squamish.”

The grand opening of Sp’akw’us Feather Park will take place on August 17, coinciding with the annual Sp’akw’us Feather Shakedown in partnership with Squamish Arts’ annual Squamish Arts Festival. This event promises to be a vibrant celebration of art and culture, highlighting the bright and inspiring future of Squamish.

Sp’akw’us Feather Park ushers in the 60-acre Oceanfront Squamish mixed-use master plan development under Oceanfront Squamish Developments, a partnership between Matthews West and Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw.  This development will include future retail, office, and residential spaces. This park was specifically referenced in the Phased Development Agreement, a bylaw that establishes the conditions under which development on the Oceanfront lands can occur. A component of which includes the delivery of an Oceanfront Park be completed prior to the completion of the first residential building. With the park complete, the next milestone will be the opening of the Presentation Centre in September, followed by House of Lager in December. Pre-sales on the first residential units are anticipated to begin in late 2024.

The community is invited to attend on Saturday May 25 at 2 p.m. for the soft opening of Sp’akw’us Feather Park and celebrate this exciting milestone.