Lyackson First Nation Chief Richard Thomas and Halalt’s Judy Wilson cut the ribbon on the new playground, overseen by speaker Johnathan Joe. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Lyackson First Nation Chief Richard Thomas and Halalt’s Judy Wilson cut the ribbon on the new playground, overseen by speaker Johnathan Joe. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Playground, fitness area becomes a reality with official opening

Halalt children and big kids already enjoying the benefits from new facility

Children and adults have all been like kids in a candy store since the completion of Huli’tun Park at the Halalt First Nation.

Construction of the state-of-the-art playground and fitness area began in late July and the official grand opening took place Thursday afternoon, Sept. 29, on the eve of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation as a nice added bonus to celebrate the project.

Seeing has been believing. Once it was confirmed, visions were dancing in the heads of residents about what it might look like. Now that it’s in clear view, it’s a spectacular facility, with all the bells and whistles for workouts and fun.

“Huli’tun Health is excited to see this new playground and outdoor fitness area that’s been put together with support from the outside,” said speaker Johnathan Joe.

Huli’tun Health Society, in partnership with the Halalt and Lyackson First Nations, were pleased to officially open the new facility for the community.

Related story: Playground, fitness facility groundbreaking for Halalt community

The beautiful space was a group effort, with many people and organizations involved to make it a reality. The community initiative was a brilliant idea first brought forward by Roseanne Thomas.

Roxy, as she’s known, was the catalyst for the project, recognizing a need in the community and asking for it. Having access to recreational outdoor spaces at the Halalt First Nation was considered important for the physical and mental health of residents.

Christine Thomas answered Roxy’s call and went to work bringing her idea to fruition.

Playquest Recreation, the company responsible for the equipment and building of the space, answered Christine Thomas’ request. The space was designed with many ages in mind, creating a bright and beautiful area that complements the natural landscape on the territory.

Playquest also connected Christine Thomas to KJ Street Consulting and support organizations with grant proposals. KJ Street Consulting supported her in the cause with multiple grant applications.

The two successful applications resulted in $270,000 from the Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada through the Canada Community Revitalization Fund and Community Foundations of Canada invested $25,983 through the Healthy Communities Initiative Fund.

“We are so grateful for these two funding opportunities to make this project a reality, one that will have lasting positive affects on the community,” noted Christine Thomas.

The community has been severely impacted by storms, flooding and the pandemic that created many hardships and this project has been such a bright light to counteract those hardships.

“We are so pleased that the children and families have this beautiful, safe space to play,” added Christine Thomas. “It gives hope that great things are coming and that opportunity is here for the future.”

The new space is already creating a brighter and better future for the next generation, with children – and some big adult kids – playing and laughing.

“This was created for the community by the community members voicing their concerns,” said Lyackson First Nation Chief Richard Thomas, who works alongside the Halalt. “It’s getting the children out, getting away from the Xbox.”

Halalt Elder Danny Norris, who lives near the park, is most impressed with the facility and what it means for the community.

“It’s something special for our children that are here today,” he said. “We know where they’re going to be. Sometimes my family has a hard time to get them to leave here. At least we know they’re safe.

“We have a lot of things that keep our children away from living a healthy lifestyle. We need to do something and this is it. It really shows what we can do when we work together and we need more of that.”


@chemainusnews
don.bodger@chemainusvalleycourier.ca

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Speaker Johnathan Joe addresses the gathering at the playground opening. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Speaker Johnathan Joe addresses the gathering at the playground opening. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Christine Thomas receives a special gift from her uncle John Wilson at the playground opening ceremony for her part in the project. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Christine Thomas receives a special gift from her uncle John Wilson at the playground opening ceremony for her part in the project. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Playground facilities are varying for all ages. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Playground facilities are varying for all ages. (Photo by Don Bodger)

There’s a little bit of everything to keep all ages enthused and occupied at the playground. (Photo by Don Bodger)

There’s a little bit of everything to keep all ages enthused and occupied at the playground. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Kids are already loving the playground facilities – and the big kids are, too. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Kids are already loving the playground facilities – and the big kids are, too. (Photo by Don Bodger)

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