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Squamish council makes wishlist for Waterfront Landing Park

Staff asked councillors for feedback on latest design of north park of major development

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Covered spaces, a children's garden, power for sound systems and parking considerations were some of the items on council's wishlist for the north Waterfront Landing park.

On July 9, municipal staff unveiled the latest iteration of that park, to be located in the Waterfront Landing development on 1500 Highway 99 and asked council for suggestions.

There will be two parks in the area, with one in the north area of the development and another in the south. During their meeting, council focused only on the north park.

The plans feature a natural area that retains the current marsh.

A bike skills area, pedestrian walkways and an area for public gatherings, events and possibly concerts were all highlights of the design. There were also opportunities to place historical signage that would inform the public about First Nations history on the land.

District planning consultant Susan Stratis said that one key change was the decision to keep and expand the marsh. Previously, the plan was to remake that area as a larger lagoon.

However, staff said that there were a number of species using that habitat, and that it would be a better idea to conserve it rather than destroy it and try to remake another habitat.

Mayor Karen Elliott asked staff to consider putting in a children's garden to afford parents a relatively safe, enclosed space where they can put their kids.

"When I think of this park, I think of year-round use," said Elliott.

"I think we should think about playgrounds and gathering spots so that people can use it in the rainy season as well as in the hot dry summer."

She also said that the Squamish Nation should be consulted for any signage related to their history on the property.

Elliott asked for an electric vehicle charging station in the parking area.

Coun. Jenna Stoner asked staff to consider figuring out ways to measure the ecological benefits that could result of the park's construction.

Municipal environmental co-ordinator Caroline Ashekian said that since the area was a former industrial area, creating a park in that area would create a net benefit for wildlife there.

Coun. Armand Hurford said that the wood waste buried at the site might have to be dug up.

Hurford asked the proponents to be cautious in this matter as it may require changes to the park.

Ashekian said the waste wouldn't contaminate the area but it could result in structural instability. Staff are waiting for studies to see what the next step would be, she said.

Hurford also said that there could be parking challenges in the area if vehicles park near an apartment building in that area, due to visitor overflow.

Stratis, however, said that the challenge with parking in the area is that there's only one public road leading to the park.

The land development agreement with developers Bosa Properties and Kingswood Properties requires eight spaces in the north park, according to a report to council. Other parking will be available in the Village centre and on public roads.

This article originally appeared here.

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