Letter: Township should look into terms of school land donation

Editor: As a near 20-year resident, a mere stone’s throw from both the Murrayville Schoolhouse and Denny Ross Park, I’m thankful for and a frequent user of the latter. Yet the redevelopment of the Murrayville Elementary School (MES) (as it used to be called) property is something of concern for me and many of my neighbors.

The Langley Times article, “Developer axes proposed 30-car parking lot at Denny Ross Memorial Park” is but a case-in-point regarding such concerns.

Frankly, I’m stunned that any professional developer (and Township council and staff) would contemplate turning civic parkland into of all things a parking lot. Such behaviours brings into question my previous presumption that professionals were involved.

I have lived adjacent to Murrayville Elementary School long enough that I still remember the sounds each school day that you could tell the time by – morning recess, lunch, afternoon recess and end-of-the-school day – each cheerfully announced by the increasing sounds emanating from the school grounds as the children played and carried on like elementary-aged kids should do. Of course, those days are long gone, yet the nostalgia lingers on.

It also concerns me greatly that in most cases property used for such civic purposes as building a schoolhouse (particularly a schoolhouse of this vintage) was often built on ‘donated’ land with very interesting clauses in the agreement between the civic authority (Township) and philanthropist (most often a local farmer).

I can’t help but wonder if the ‘deed’ for the Murrayville Schoolhouse is not in contravention by the proposed redevelopment project. In most cases, the terms of the ‘donation’ of such land, was that the land remain for school (civic) use in perpetuity.

‘Perpetuity’, is a very, very long time. If it is not too much trouble, is it possible for either the developer or Township to look into this interesting and possible circumstance, and then publicly respond?

Stephen Ross,

Murrayville

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