Keep school land, parents urge board of education
If the deal to convert a Langley property into a townhouse project goes ahead, it will end any hope of a school for the Routley neighborhood, a spokesman for area parents told Langley trustees Tuesday night.
Pete Pretorius led a delegation of more than 80 parents who oppose a plan that would transfer the unused school site to a developer in return for another location in Yorkson, away from Routley.
“We need you to cancel this,” said Pretorius, arguing the board should keep the land even if it has no immediate plans to build a school there.
“You build townhouses, the door is shut.”
A survey by parents suggests there are about 500 students of school age in the Routley area.
The district estimate is smaller at 295, but that is only students enrolled in Langley classes.
It doesn’t include children who live in Routley but don’t go to Langley schools, like Pretorius’ two sons who still attend their old school in Surrey for lack of a conveniently located school in their new neighbourhood.
Parents were told the board of education will try to arrange a public summit meeting on the land swap on May 31 with the board, parents and Township of Langley all in attendance.
They were also told the land swap isn’t a done deal.
In response to a question by Trustee Rob McFarlane, secretary-treasurer David Green said he understands the agreement between the three parties has not been signed.
“The agreement will only be signed by the developer if the rezoning is approved [by the Township of Langley],” Green said.
Superintendent Cheryle Beaumont defended the decision to shift the proposed school property, saying designating a potential school site is not a guarantee, and the district can’t hope that “a school will appear from the sky” just because it owns a lot.
Beaumont disputed complaints that parents were not informed of the change of plans, saying the Routley site has not been in the school district capital plan since 2008.
Residents were consulted, she added.
More than one parent challenged that statement, saying they received no notice.