Wednesday February 1, 2023 | LANGFORD, BC [Last updated Feb 11, 2023]
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
A major concrete pour in downtown Langford on this first of February highlights the significant growth of the city and its collaborative educational partners.
Laying the foundational slab (basement floor) of the West Shore campus of Royal Roads University took the entire day from dawn to dusk. The 7 am to 6 pm project saw a steady stream of trucks arriving with concrete, and a skilled team of trades people working the poured concrete into smooth slabs.
And it wasn’t just any concrete, but a type of concrete called CarbonCure which injects recycled carbon dioxide into fresh concrete, explained Travis Butler, President of Butler Concrete & Aggregate Ltd, who was there on site. The CO2 becomes permanently embedded, helping to reduce and remove carbon emissions, he explained.
About 600 cubic meters of concrete was poured into the foundation over a 12-hour continuous pour.
VIPs and media:
Media and VIPs were there from 1 to 2 pm on this cold winter day, at one point seeing six concrete trucks on site (about one-third to one-half of the Butler Concrete fleet was involved today, from three plant locations — in Sooke, Keating on the Saanich Peninsula, and Bay Street in downtown Victoria), and dozens of construction and trades workers. Likely everyone was relieved that skies were clear, with no rain or snow.
Heading up the observational event — watching concrete pour — was Royal Roads University, hosting their collaborative partners from the University of Victoria, Camosun College, the Justice Institute of BC, and Sooke School District 62 (SD62). They were joined by representatives of the City of Langford and concrete supplier Butler Concrete & Aggregate Ltd.
The West Shore campus of Royal Roads is smack dab in the heart of the City of Langford‘s downtown at Goldstream Avenue and Peatt Road. When finished, the building address will be 798 Goldstream Avenue.
Residents know that zone as their ‘main street’ in the town that has grown from very humble beginnings to being a nationally-recognized growing metropolis. That feat was accomplished in just 30 years, under the long-time leadership of one former mayor, Stew Young.
Who was there:
Today the new Mayor of Langford, Scott Goodmanson, was proud to say how the upcoming offerings of RRU’s West Shore campus are built on the foundation of the work of the previous council. He was joined on site today by Councillor Mary Wagner, and the city’s CAO Darren Kiedyk and Corporate Officer Braden Hutchins.
Local west shore MLA Mitzi Dean (Esquimalt-Metchosin) was on hand to see the pouring of the ground floor of the new west shore campus. RRU’s main campus is in Colwood, within her riding.
University of Victoria Vice-President Academic and Provost Elizabeth Croft was on hand for this significant day, as was UVic’s communications rep Jennifer Kwan. From Camosun College, communications rep Rodney Porter attended. The Justice Institute of BC was represented by Kathy Harms of their Health Sciences Division.
Royal Roads University vice-president of communications and advancement Susan Gee was there, pleased at the progress. Having been a bridge between RRU and the City of Langford for many years, on hand for the concrete pour was Dale Gann, Director, Business Development, RRU. RRU communications reps Jennifer Rathwell and Mandy Gareau helped host the event.
There on behalf of SD62 — the K-12 school district serving the population of a large chunk of the western communities (Langford, Colwood, Highlands, Metchosin, Sooke, Juan de Fuca and beyond to Port Renfrew), were SD62 Vice Chair Amanda Dowhy and Associate Superintendent Paul Block.
Travis Butler was there on behalf of his family’s concrete company which has played a large role in building the south Vancouver Island region from the ground up.
Last year and this:
While the RRU physical campus in Langford has been in the works since at least 2018 (with collaborative planning including the undergrad curriculum going as far back as 2008), it’s first big day was the official ground breaking on August 3, 2022. That was a strikingly hot sunny day, compared to the see-your-breath cold of today.
Last summer’s launch brought out the (now former) Premier John Horgan, who is still the MLA for the Langford-Sooke region. This year’s event was literally more grounded in nature, but proudly highlighted the continuing on-the-ground progress.
Construction on schedule:
RRU vice-president of communications and advancement Susan Gee says that the building at 798 Goldstream and its range of services is on track to open on schedule in September 2024.
It’s the first of other buildings to come in future years, creating a whole new flavour to that part of Langford and offering well-paid jobs to a range of teaching professionals and administration.
There will be a series of concrete pours scheduled over the coming months as the foundation and core vertical structure of the building is constructed. After the Phase 1 building is completed for September 2024, together with additional phases/buildings the Royal Roads West Shore Campus will serve an estimated 1,300 full-time equivalent students at full capacity by 2035/2036.
Minister of Post-Secondary Education and Future Skills:
Last week the new Minister of Post Secondary and Future Skills, Selina Robinson, visited the site on tour with RRU President Philip Steenkamp.
Robinson’s focus since taking the reins of post secondary on December 7 is about lining up education and training with jobs of the future that are “good paying and meaningful”. She has visited many post-secondary campuses already: “They are all my favourites,” she said during a media session at Camosun College last week.
She hopes her ministry can “address the workforce challenges across all sectors of the economy”. Last week at Camosun’s health-technician training announcement Robinson keyed in on the importance of ‘the care economy’. She said that BC will need 85,000 skilled trades workers over the next 10 years.
Programming at the Royal Roads West Shore Campus will be a unique combination of:
- full four-year undergrad by RRU (all courses will have a global environmental impact approach);
- specialized program tracks from UVic (starting with computing science and software engineering);
- specific courses from Camosun College in high-demand areas such as educational assistant and health-care assistant, adult upgrading, and university transfer; and
- from SD62 a combo of dual-credit courses for Grade 11 and 12 students as well as adult education (both GED upgrading and English Language Learning for newcomers).
The idea of a collaborative west shore location for all of these educational providers is, in part, to eliminate distance and transportation as a barrier to youth and adults achieving further educational goals.
This milestone day was captured by its many stakeholders in lively conversations and group photos.
Selina Robinson heads into post-secondary portfolio (Dec 7, 2022)
Langford announces bold low-carbon concrete policy (Nov 18, 2021)
===== ABOUT THE WRITER:
Mary P Brooke, B.Sc., Cert PR is a long-time journalist, delivering news through a socioeconomic lens through Island Social Trends.
Based on the west shore of south Vancouver Island, her publication IslandSocialTrends.ca covers news of the Greater Victoria area, south Vancouver Island, with insights on BC and national issues.
Ms Brooke has consistently covered SD62 news at the board and committee level since 2014. Mary Brooke was a school trustee candidate in SD62 Belmont Zone (Langford, Colwood, Metchosin, Highlands) in October 2022.
===== ABOUT ISLAND SOCIAL TRENDS:
Island Social Trends emerged in mid-2020 from a preceding series of publications by founder/editor Mary P Brooke and published by Brookeline Publishing House Inc. The series is, so far: MapleLine Magazine (2008-2010), Sooke Voice News (2011-2013), and West Shore Voice News (2014-2020), and Island Social Trends (2020 to present). | ARCHIVES: POLITICS | POST-SECONDARY | EDUCATION | SD62 West Shore |