School site fees are on way up

Despite opposition from Langley City, provincial government has agreed to higher fees for school site acquisition.

If you are looking to buy a home in Langley, earlier rather than later will save you money.

Last Thursday, the Ministry of Education approved Langley School District’s proposal to more than double the school site acquisition fees charged to developers for each home or condo built.

Once implemented, the charges for single family homes will rise from $354 to $737, while fees for townhouses and condos would jump to $590 per unit, from the current $283. At Tuesday night’s board of education meeting, the new fees received unanimous third reading approval.

The school district came up with the new figures last year, after it hired Urban Systems Limited to look into how much Langley charges the development community, and learned it has been charging significantly less than neighbouring municipalities.

But Langley City council has vehemently opposed the new fees, stating to the district that it unfairly targets condo developers in the City. No new schools are proposed and very few new students are coming into the district from the City.

Plus, the cost of these new fees is just going to be passed onto the buyer, said council.

The existing fees were implemented by School District 35 in 2001. The City of Langley has collected $451,014.07 on behalf of the district, as of May 29, 2013.

The ministry wrote to the district last week, indicating it will not accept Langley City’s argument and will proceed with the new charges.

The City has not forwarded a response to the ministry’s approval.

“The Township is eager to get this moving because they are losing money every day and charges haven’t changed since 2001,” said board chair Wendy Johnson.

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