Q3: 20 Questions for Langley Township Council candidates

Rick Green (for MAYOR) – Schools are an important part of the infrastructure necessary to service our ever increasing population. The new rules that have just been laid down by the Province, specifically the School Board must come up with 50% of the funding and now the Province has rejected our 5 year Capital Plan with no funds available this year make our situation untenable. We have two Senior Cabinet Ministers elected by our community and we get this kind of message? We must meet with them to find solutions to this problem. It is Provincially based.

Petrina Arnason – NO. A recent article in the local newspaper indicated that the Township has finally entered into more senior level discussions with the provincial government and the School District with respect to how to provide the necessary number of schools for the fast-developing Willoughby area.  These discussions need to provide concrete plans for how to fund the required number of schools for the influx of students associated with the high density development.

Solon Bucholz – NO. There is a clear disconnect on the predicted amount of students per household versus reality. Evidently, there is no real communication or research on pressing demand for schools in our community. The council, management and the Langley school district are all operating on unrealistic numbers or disregarding real demand which is creating strain on the education system and resulting in overcrowded schools. 

David Davis – No. The provincial government makes those decisions regarding funding and where schools go.

Bev Dornan – Yes, but we can always do more. We plan for the spaces and make available the school and park sites as the development progress. We need to consult with the School Board to make sure this is done in a responsible manner.

Charlie Fox – The Township has worked diligently this past years in partnership with the School District to get new schools. Through our working in partnership with SD35 three schools have been opened in the past three years providing over 1,760 new seats for students. SD35 must prepare a new Business Plan to access funds for new schools and our staff and Council will work in partnership to assist with the preparation of that in any way they request.

Clint Lee – No, our council has done a poor job of managing growth in our developing areas which is clearly evidenced by the overcrowding issue in our schools.  Our council, in approving development after development, is directly responsible for adding more students into a maxed out school system.

Patricia Lessard – I don’t know, I do know that it is not the Township Council nor the School Board that approves funding for new schools that comes from the Provincial Government.  

Bob Long – Yes – the Township has secured the lands for schools, but of course it’s the Province that builds them – not local government.

Jackie Mandzak – No. While this is an issue that is compounded by other levels of government, the Township must ensure that development proposals have realistic numbers for future children.  Our school board needs to take a look at the formula used, as it does not accurately reflect the number of children in a given area.  While the formula may work for areas such as Brookswood, in Willoughby it has failed.  Developers currently pay a fee that goes toward school land procurement. Given the provincial governments announcement that schools will have to be 50% funded by the requesting municipality, the Township is obligated to revisit the funding practices around new development in order to ensure we can also pay for buildings.  We need to be proactive and plan for the increase that comes with density.  Children do live in condos, as well as townhouses and single family homes. This must be reflected in how we collect fees from development.  There must also be better communication with the School Board so that the concerns of residents, regarding our schools, can be met.

Kevin Mitchell – NO.  Willoughby is a perfect example of growth before community infrastructure.

Scott Nichols – No. Case in point is Willoughby. The math and statistics used to assess the number of children entering the school system is flawed in my opinion.

Angie Quaale – Yes. The Township cannot solve this in isolation. I know Council is in current consultation with the Ministry and needs to continue to challenge the Provincial Government for more capital investment. Council needs to work on creative ways of finding the funding to get the schools we need. I’m confident that our needs will be addressed if we maintain a strong, collaborative relationship with the School District and draw on the support & strength of our provincial MLA’s. 

Kim Richter – NO. Both Township and the School District used to plan communities around neighbourhood schools which are the heart of any new community in terms of building communities and family connections. We have lost this in Willoughby and need to get it back.

Michelle Sparrow – No. It has been made clear from the recent news stories and decisions of the Province that school funding will be even more difficult for the school district to obtain moving forward. We need to create a plan in cooperation with the School District which will see us be a strong united voice to petition the Province for more school infrastructure and to ensure it is obtainable for local school districts.  The theory that more growth equals more schools funding is clearly not working to adequately address the needs of the growth in the Willoughby area. We need a clear plan of how we can assist and support the School District in accessing this funding. 

Dave Stark – No. We see too many excuses from our council about why they do not do more to ensure schools, children, and families are more of a priority when developing neighbourhoods like Willoughby. Voting record of this council, and “kaos” that is happening in Willoughby shows poor planning, and a lack of political will, and respect for people that would ensure that greater services are in place when the thousands of new residents arrive. I was part of a truly collaborative relationship in Vancouver between the School District and the City. It takes work to develop this type of relationship, and our current council has taken the easy way out. 

Blair Whitmarsh – Yes/No. Councillors must be willing to listen to residents, to lead in advancing solutions, and to lobby the School Board and the Province to assist with schools.

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