Schools have changed since this class picture. (Langley Centennial Museum collection)

Our View: Willoughby has lessons for the future of Langley

Some lessons were hard, but others are positive.

The announcement of a new school in Langley’s fast-growing Willoughby neighbourhood will come as a relief to local parents.

For the past decade, Willoughby’s rapid growth has meant portables, crowded classrooms, and in some cases, separate shifts of students on the playground due to lack of space.

It will be a few years, but there are two elementary school sites purchased, and the new R.E. Mountain Secondary and its middle school will be open this fall.

Will it be enough to keep up with the growth? It’s hard to say.

Residents of Brookswood, Murrayville, and even Langley City may not be directly affected, but they should keep an eye on the situation.

Willoughby’s growth has often been decried – most fervently by those who don’t actually live there.

But the Township and school district have done many things right in Willoughby as well. The community has a better road grid, more planned bike lanes, and more amenities than Walnut Grove did when that community was being feverishly expanded through the 1980s and 1990s.

The obvious issues – crowded schools, jammed roads – took place in other areas of Langley as they grew, too.

Before Brookswood’s expansion begins in earnest, this is a good time to look at some of the smaller lessons of Willoughby, both positive and negative. If Langley can work with the province to expand school capacity as the population grows, instead of in a frantic game of catch up, that would be one of the best lessons to learn.

– M.C.

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