Township planning to blame for many Willoughby school issues

What I see is continued approval for the development of new homes, with no clear plan for how to address the needs of families in the area.

Editor: This letter is directed to the Langley Board of Education.

We moved to the Willoughby slope four years ago.  We left our life in Vancouver and moved to Langley, to provide our young son with an opportunity to grow up in a neighbourhood with children his own age and within walking distance of his elementary school.  We chose the slope specifically because we heard great things about R.C. Garnett Elementary School.

Four years later, I am left seriously questioning our decision. The school itself has not disappointed. The neighbourhood and the community of families have certainly not disappointed.

What has been a huge disappointment are the politics around education in Langley.  The lack of effective planning to deal with the population growth on the slope has been frustrating and detrimental to our community.

Every year the R.C. Garnett population grows. Every year parents are left wondering what this means for their children and their families.

Will yet another portable be added to the school grounds, taking away valuable play space and placing increasing demands on the infrastructure of the school?

Worse still, will the school be cut in half, dividing families and forcing some children to travel greater distances to another school, as happened in Cloverdale? We all know something has to give.

What I see is continued approval for the development of new homes, with no clear plan for how to address the needs of families in the area.

I have been vocal about my opposition to the portables at R.C. Garnett, because I believe our children deserve better.  I also believe our children deserve better than uprooting them in the middle of a formative time in their intellectual and social development, as would happen if we were forced to divide the school.

We need to stop providing “temporary” or “inexpensive” solutions for what we know is a long-term problem, and we need to plan for the future instead of reacting to the past.

When I heard the announcement that the ministry of education had approved funding for two new schools in Langley, I was elated.  As I am faced with the reality of another year of increasing registration at R.C. Garnett and more signs of development in the area, I feel less than confident that our challenges will be solved anytime soon.

For now, I wait.

I wait to hear how this year’s growth is going to be “managed.”  I wait because I don’t know what lies ahead and the decisions that affect my family are out of my hands.

I can only hope that someone is listening to the needs of the community and has a long-term strategy that will be more effective than the one we’ve had to date.

Our children don’t deserve to suffer because of fiscal mistakes and poor planning.

Evelyn Forrest,