A request to have two properties removed from the Agricultural Land Reserve has been denied. (Gazette file photo)

School Board continues search for land for new schools

Royal Bay expansion, new middle and elementary school top the list

Rick Stiebel/News Gazette staff

The Sooke School Board is weighing whether it will appeal a decision blocking the removal of two properties from the Agricultural Land Reserve that the board wants to purchase for new schools.

The two properties in limbo are part of three properties that make up a 16-acre parcel of land the school board has made offers on.

The Agricultural Land Commission rejected the application to remove the two properties at 940 and 960 Latoria Rd. three weeks ago. The board is considering an appeal, said Sooke School District superintendent Jim Cambridge.

“The land was well-suited (for new schools) and hasn’t been farmed in years,” he added.

The two parcels were also part of an earlier block application by the City of Langford to remove a number of properties on behalf of landowners. That decision is still under review.

Regarding the five-year capital plan recently approved by Sooke School Board trustees, Cambridge said it doesn’t stray from what was previously outlined.

“It’s quite similar to last September,” Cambridge said. “We made a couple of tweaks but Royal Bay expansion is still our number one priority.”

That’s followed closely by adding a middle and elementary school in the Langford/Colwood area and an elementary school in south Langford or in the Royal Bay area.

The board put in a purchase offer for some land in the Royal Bay development about a month ago, but hasn’t heard back yet, Cambridge noted.

The site of the former Metchosin elementary school has been approved for sale and was listed last week in the $1.4 million range through Colliers International for the school and property at 4495 Happy Valley Rd.

reporter@goldstreamgazette.com