- The Westshore
- Expansions coming for Sooke School District
Expansions coming for Sooke School District
Plus, Centre Mountain update, hydro box fire, stand up comedy, and more
With continuous rapid growth across the Westshore, two local elementary schools will be expanding to accommodate the growth in the student population. Plus, the federal NDP is pushing for shorter freighter anchorages in BC waters. Read all about it and more in today’s edition of the Westshore.
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Sooke School District expansion starts
Construction is now underway at two Sooke School District (SD62) elementary schools after the Government of BC made an announcement in October about expanding space in the area.
The Westshore is a continuously growing community, especially as people move into the area to start or support families; according to a SD62 report, the school district is one of the fastest growing in the province, with elementary schools leading the trend by a significant amount. With a growth rate over 40% over the past 15 years, SD62 schools predict that the future will bring upwards of 300-500 students each year, a future that they want to begin investing in now before the surge of students.
“As one of the fastest-growing communities in Canada, the City of Langford is pleased to see this much needed addition to Ruth King Elementary,” said Langford Mayor, Scott Goodmanson. “The City values its longstanding partnership with the Sooke School District and will continue to work with the District for the benefit of current and future generations of students.”
The Ministry of Education and Child Care is giving Ruth King Elementary in Langford and David Cameron Elementary in Colwood $24 million to expand student spaces. The money will be used to add 190 seats in eight new classrooms to each of the schools, which are expected to be ready for use in the fall of 2024.
Construction of the facilities will be done by Surrey-based EXO Construction and the design done by Vancouver’s StudioHuB. The province hopes the custom-made prefabricated additions will get students into classrooms quicker, as the construction uses components made off-site in a factory, which will be transported back to the school and assembled. The sustainable and energy-efficient designs also match-up with the province’s CleanBC targets and meet BC’s enhanced energy requirements.
“I take pride in the relationship fostered between the municipalities in our region and the school district. While the school board holds ownership, we recognize that our schools are a communal asset, with benefits extending to the entire community,” said SD62 board chair Amanda Dowhy. “This realization underscores the significance of our partnerships, positioning them as crucial contributors to our shared success.”
This isn’t the first time Westshore schools have received funding, as the provincial government has approved approximately $260 million to create 2,660 new student seats in SD62 over the past five years. This includes funding for Pexsisen Elementary, Centre Mountain Lellum Middle school, an addition to Royal Bay Secondary, and SĆIȺNEW̱ SṮEȽIṮḴEȽ Elementary, which is the new elementary school under construction in Langford.
Centre Mountain development displaying the growing pains of multi-jurisdictional projects
A map showing the changed borders from the 2017 land swap between Sc’ianew, Langford, and Metchosin. Photo: Te'mekw Treaty Association.
Last week, District of Metchosin Council heard from engineer Al Herle who provided important updates on the Centre Mountain development project. As is frequently true of projects that involve agreements between multiple jurisdictions, there are convolutions unique to this one that aren’t easily teased apart or resolved.
The property in question was initially part of a 2017 land-swap agreement between the City of Langford, Metchosin and Sc’ianew Nation when it was also agreed that tax revenues from that land would be split between the three entities. At the time, former Metchosin mayor John Ranns said, “This is probably the most important development in the history of Metchosin since incorporation. I’ve been agonizing about those parcels for decades.”
In the swap, Metchosin received Crown land meant to be protected as green space, which later, the City of Langford asked whether it could use it as a buffer to meet zoning requirements for the proposed Centre Mountain industrial build.
One of the hinges of the project’s progress—and ultimate success—is that portion of the covenant (agreement) which stipulates that “no building, structure, or infrastructure of any kind can be built in the residential development until the developer has designed and constructed the stormwater management facilities on the buffer lands.”
Around the 'Shore
📚 Curious Comics in Langford still open despite flooding: Ken Layden, manager of Curious Comics, is keeping the Langford location open despite minor flooding in the shop. According to Layden, a small fire activated the sprinkler system in the Goldstream condominium building above his store that caused water to come through the ceiling and damage some of the shop and merchandise; this is the second fire the comic store has faced in four years. [Vancouver Island Free Daily]
🔥 Fire started in Colwood after a FedEx driver crashed into a hydro box and fled: Over two dozen BC Hydro customers were left without power Tuesday morning after a FedEx vehicle crashed into a hydro box while the driver made a delivery. Social media posts speculated the vehicle might have been in neutral as the truck rolled back into the transformer, causing it to burst into flames. The driver was issued two violation tickets for failure to remain at the scene and lack of insurance. [Victoria Buzz]
🚔 Police rule death at Esquimalt mechanic shop not suspicious: Victoria police responded to a call around 9am Monday at Motor City Mechanics after a male was found dead inside. Police have stated that the death was not suspicious, and the family and loved ones were notified of his passing. [Times Colonist]
🤣 Stand up comedy: Enjoy some laughs this Feb. 2 at the Sooke Community Hall with an evening of stand up comedy. Doors open at 6pm for the 7pm performance, with comedians Damonde Tschritter, Amber Harper Young, and Elyott Ryan taking the stage. Serving beer and wine, there is a $30 entrance fee to get in.
🥾 Witty’s Lagoon Hike: Join fellow outdoors enthusiasts this Feb. 3 for a hike exploring Witty’s Lagoon Park to Tower Point and back. Meet at 10am at the regional park nature house at 4115 Metchosin Rd. Anyone is invited to join; though dogs are asked to be left at home for this hike.
🎸 Vinyl Wave live: Looking for some good tunes? Head to the Elements Casino this Feb. 3 for a free live performance from Vinyl Wave. Vinyl Wave is a talented duo of musicians who both play guitar and sing rock songs for the audience to enjoy. Show starts at 8pm.
🚢 The Argo Wind is a bulk carrier built in 2017, sailing under the flag of Panama. It is coming from 🇯🇵 Kashima, Japan ➡ 🇨🇦 Robert Banks and was scheduled to arrive Jan. 26, 2024.
⛴The Musky is a bulk carrier built in 2014, sailing under the flag of Marshall Islands. It is coming from 🇵🇪 Matarani, Peru ➡ 🇨🇦 Vancouver and was scheduled to arrive Dec. 30, 2023.
NDP pushes for time limit on freighter anchorage in BC waters: The federal NDP is bringing up the issue of idling cargo ships in Ottawa to attempt an amendment to Bill C-33, which would allow a maximum two-week stay for freighters off the coast. In 2022, Vancouver was named one of the least-efficient ports in the world and despite making changes to alleviate the frustration, there are still issues with ships idling too long in the area; residents across the province have voiced their concerns, including those in the Westshore, with ships like the Musky still idling after a month of its arrival date [CHEK]
Early morning overlooking Esquimalt Harbour, and Millstream Estuary on January 29. —Richard Steward, View Royal
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