PARC gets started on child-care facilities

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Salt Spring Parks and Recreation is making headway on increasing child-care spaces available on island after receiving more than $1 million in grant funding.

Earth-moving machines are now at work on the Rainbow Road Pool property in preparation for the utility installation that will connect a new portable building set to arrive this summer. Construction is also slated to begin this year on an extension to the pool building. The portable and the new multipurpose room will provide space for preschool and daycare, with the first option slated to start in the portable this coming September.

Total grant funding received for the multipurpose room project is $832,275, coming through the B.C. Ministry of Children and Family Development in a program administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities. The new space will be available for a new or existing non-profit child-care provider to occupy during weekdays and will be open to community groups and recreation programs in the evenings and weekends. It is scheduled to open in September 2021.

The grant includes $75,000 for the purchase of a 24-seat bus that will be used by the child-care operators and other PARC programs, and follows on an earlier grant of $214,000 provided by MCFD for the portable.

“Kudos to government. They really are investing an unprecedented amount of money [in child care],” said Salt Spring’s Capital Regional District director Gary Holman.

Holman gave further credit to the shared space model, with the province encouraging child-care spaces created within recreation and school settings.

Members of the Salt Spring Parks and Recreation Commission meeting via tele-conference last Tuesday voted to change PARC’s five-year capital plan to allow the multipurpose room construction to be completed by 2022, which is a condition of the UBCM grant.

Parks and rec manager Dan Ovington told the commission that in light of recent circumstances, the organization is now seeking to amend its licence to permit full-day daycare for essential service workers and others.

“In the current climate there may be more demand for that right now rather than a recreational half-day program,” Ovington explained.

An interest list for the licensed preschool and licensed daycare is available now. To sign up, call 250-537-1402 or email ssiparc@crd.bc.ca.

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