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District of Squamish Receives $851K for Community Child Care Space CreationDistrict of Squamish
SQUAMISH - The District of Squamish has received an $851,500 grant from the Community Child Care Space Creation Program, funded by the BC Ministry of Children and Family Development under the Canada-British Columbia Early Learning and Child Care (ELCC) Agreement. The program aims to improve delivery of child care services in BC and is administered by the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM). The funding will support a new purpose-built child care facility at Valleycliffe Elementary School in south Squamish. The project will be a joint effort by the District of Squamish that has access to the funding, School District 48 which is providing the land, and Sea to Sky Community Services who will be the long-term non-profit operator.
“We are grateful to the Province for these funds that will help our community partners to advance the goal of ensuring an adequate supply of quality, licensed child care spaces in our community,” says District of Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott. “Quality child care is integral to healthy childhood development and a family’s ability to participate in the local workforce. We will continue to advocate with the Province for more spaces and more affordable child care options in our community, and do our part to work with community partners and stakeholders to prioritize child care so that it does not continue to be a barrier for our families.”
The new child care facility will provide 12 full-time spaces for infants and toddlers under 36 months, plus 24 group care spaces for children aged 30 months to school age in a new, stand-alone building. The site location was identified in consultation with the school district, and based on several factors including long-range facilities plans, site size and suitability, servicing and accessibility. A Request For Proposals will be released by the District of Squamish in the coming weeks for project management services for the child care facility design and construction.
“This is an exciting project for our community and we’re very pleased to partner again with the District of Squamish and Sea to Sky Community Services to provide a location for high-quality child care spaces in Squamish,” says School District 48 School Board Chair Rick Price. “While offering essential support for young families, the co-location will also help our early learners transition smoothly from child care to elementary school.”
The newly adopted Squamish2040 Official Community Plan prioritized the completion of a local child care strategy to address critical local child care issues such as lack of available space, the need for before and after-school care and the high cost of child care for children under 36 months. Council endorsed the Squamish Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy in October 2018.
“We’re delighted to be able to partner with School District 48 with the support of the District of Squamish to respond to the needs of families,” says Executive Sea to Sky Community Services Society Director Jaye Russell. “Right now, families in Squamish are waiting up to two years to get access to quality child care for their infants and toddlers, and the creation of 36 new spaces will go a long way towards narrowing that gap. As an agency, we’re ready to meet that need and can’t wait to get started on this exciting new project."
The District was recently awarded a $25,000 Community Child Care Planning Program grant for Squamish Community Child Care Action Planning and Implementation Project, a 12-month collaborative project that will refine targets and plans for the number, location and type of child care spaces across the community.
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