Tuesday, July 9, 2024

$2 Million In And Nothing to Show: The Langley School Site Acquisition Charge

Langley City and the Township of Langley are in School District #35. The School Site Acquisition Charge is one funding tool that school districts and their boards use to help finance the purchase of new land for schools.

The Langley School District collects this Charge from developers for every new unit of housing built. The idea is that new housing means new school sites, but this isn't always the case.

School District #35 has collected $2,047,677 in School Site Acquisition Charges from Langley City development projects since 2002. Unfortunately, not a nickel of that money has been invested in purchasing new school sites in Langley City. Every nickel collected in Langley City has been used to purchase land for new schools in the Township of Langley. We actually lost a school site in Langley City. The former Langley Prairie School at 20062 Fraser Highway was torn down in 2008, and the School Board of the day sold off the land.

Langley Prairie Elementary School from the front during tear down in 2008. Source: The Langley Centennial Museum

In 2014, Langley City Council unsuccessfully opposed a double of the School Site Acquisition Charges in Langley City. You can read more about this in a blog post I wrote over a decade ago.

The School Site Acquisition Charge must be set consistently within a School District per the province. Each new housing unit in Langley City and Township is uniformly subject to the Charge.

Last night, Langley City Council received notice that the School Board is updating its School Site Acquisition Charge policy to fund purchasing land for the following new sites:

Williams Elementary
Smith Elementary
Willoughby Slope Middle
Brookswood Fernridge Middle

Langley City Council formally "objected" to the proposed locations. While the four proposed sites in the Township of Langley make sense, Council believes a fifth site in Langley City is warranted. Council asked that City staff work with the School District to identify a site in Langley City that could also become an eligible site in our northwest quadrant. There will be two SkyTrain Stations in that area, and thousands of new residents will need a school.

The Local Government Act, which sets the rules around the School Site Acquisition Charge, states that the School District and impacted municipalities must work together to reach a mutually agreeable solution. If we cannot, the province will make the final call.

I know that the Langley Board of Education and School District are looking out for current and future Langley students, and I'm hopeful that this formal "objection" will help move us in a good way to consider the impacts of SkyTrain on the School District.


Anonymous said...

Was there not also another school torn down around 208 St and Fraser Highway? It was beside the old A&W, which used to sit on the land that is now a Safeway and strip mall.

Nathan Pachal said...

You are correct.

Bruce McWilliam said...

Consider the whole area as one Langley.
Merge the communities and disperse the money where it is needed the most.
Work together.

Anonymous said...

There are reasons why the two separated, and I’m one who does not agree with the township’s policies and never want to see them back together. For reference I’ve lived here for 50 years. How about you?