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West shore: closer ties for Langford & SD62

Decision comes today as BC Government promotes the two new schools being constructed in the Westhills area of Langford.

Monday March 15, 2021 | LANGFORD, BC [Updated at 9 pm – motion passed at council to approve the working group]

by Mary P Brooke, editor | Island Social Trends

Tighter collaborations are coming for City of Langford and Sooke School District 62 (SD62).

Tonight there’s a motion in front of Langford Council that if passed will see the municipality and SD62 further “intersect in matters such as community planning, shared use facilities, libraries & sports/recreation”.

The city and school district already cross paths in terms of land use for schools, community use of school spaces, and various initiatives having to do with programs and services (such as child care).

If the March 15 motion is passed, there would be a small working group that would meet twice a year, comprised of Mayor (Stew Young), CAO (Darren Kiedyk), SD62 Chair (Ravi Parmar), and Superintendent (Scott Stinson).

Current leadership:

The current City of Langford Council is comprised of one Mayor (Stew Young) and six Councillors (Denise Blackwell, Lanny Seaton, Matt Sahlstrom, Lillian Szpak, Norma Stewart, Roger Wade).

Langgord city hall
Langford City Hall (file photo)

The SD62 Board is comprised of Chair (Ravi Parmar) and six other trustees elected from two zones:

  • Belmont Zone (electors in Langford /Colwood / Highlands / Metchosin / View Royal): Parmar elected in the Belmont Zone (second term), as well as Bob Beckett (first term) who is currently vice-chair, as well as long-time trustees Wendy Hobbs and Dianna Seaton.
  • Milne’s Landing Zone (electors in Sooke, Juan de Fuca): Presently there are two long-time trustees (Bob Phillips and Margot Swinburnson) and one first-term trustee (Allison Watson) who recently was shuffled into the position of Education Policy Chair.

Langford is holding their council meetings once a month during the pandemic (a motion to approve that for April, May and June was carried at tonight’s council meeting; July and August already had only one meeting scheduled).

SD62 jammed all their March meetings into the first two weeks of the month, as they are presently on spring break.

Expanding infrastructure in Langford:

Today the BC Ministry of Education issued a news release with what is effectively ‘old news’, that SD62 is constructing two new schools in the Westhills area of Langford.

Premier John Horgan, SD62, new schools, Constellation Ave
Premier John Horgan announced $88.6 million for the construction of two new schools on Constellation Avenue in Langford, June 17, 2019 [West Shore Voice News / Island Social Trends]

One elementary school and one middle school will together provide 1,200 new student seats to the community in the premier’s riding of Langford-Juan de Fuca.

The Government of B.C. is providing $88.6 million to build the two new schools for that project at the corner of Constellation Avenue and the West Shore Parkway.

That funding announcement was made on site on June 17, 2021 led by Premier John Horgan. On March 12, 2020 there was a name-announcement for the two new schools (Pexsiseṉ Elementary and Centre Mountain Lellum Middle), held in the upper level Commons of Belmont Secondary School.

Then on November 5, 2020 there was a socially-distanced construction groundbreaking event on site, led jointly by the City of Langford (speech by Langford Mayor Stew Young) and the SD62 executive leadership (Superintendent Scott Stinson as emcee and Chair Ravi Parmar with a few words to say), with a blessing from First Nations Elder Shirley Alphonse.

Not just Langford:

Apparently SD62 is approaching other municipalities as well, but the bulk of their facility growth is in Langford due to population increases there.

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