Published On: Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Education & Economics in the West Shore

Education & Economics in the West Shore

- Julie Lawlor is the Executive Director at the WestShore Chamber of Commerce. You can reach her at 250.478.1130 or jlawlor@westshore.bc.ca.

WEST SHORE - As in all regions, when people consider moving to our region for work they also consider the cost of living and the quality of life in areas such as amenities, health care and education.

The latter is of course especially important for families with school age children, and with more and more families moving into the West Shore the educational offer continues to develop. In December, I was pleased to attend the unveiling of the new site of the Brookes Westshore School in Colwood.

A second campus following on from Brookes Shawnigan Lake, Brookes Westshore will welcome 300 international and Canadian students from grades 6-12 into its International Baccalaureate Program from September 2018. It is hoped that shovels will be in the ground from Spring 2017, and Brookes is keen to point out the economic as well as the educational benefits.

Kinetic Construction is the general contractor on this project, which represents approximately 1400 man weeks of work. The school will also create 100 local, sustainable jobs in Colwood and millions in economic activity for the Westshore.

School District 62, which opened two new already over-subscribed high schools in Langford and Colwood in 2015, is keenly aware that with the growth in the West Shore, more school places are needed.

Their recently released Long Range Facilities Plan notes that “The population of the West Shore has been growing continually over the last three decades. Based on the estimates prepared by BC Stats, the population has almost doubled in size from 40,756 in 1986 to 79,509 in 2016.

BC Stats also forecasts a further increase of about 20,000 to about 100,000 by 2026. With this in mind, the report puts forward a suite of recommendations which include building on to existing schools, updating and upgrading others, and also proposals for new schools.

In Metchosin, Westmont Montessori School is also feeling the pressure of more interest in the school than capacity to accommodate students. An independent co-educational school with an early primary to grade 8 curriculum, Westmont has grown from a small pre-school to a school of 185 students.

As the West Shore continues to grow, Westmont will continue to review how it develops and adjusts to meet the needs of its students, parents and the wider community.

And the WestShore Chamber of Commerce will be on hand to support these discussions because we know this is all part of the package that makes up sustainable economic development in the West Shore.

For further information on what is going on at the WestShore Chamber, please visit our website, or give us a call on 250.478.1130.