The owner of a busy daycare says the District of Lantzville is breaching its contract, evicting the business from one of its buildings without the required notice.
The Lantzville Heritage Church was built in 1925, and while it’s no longer operating as a church, Lantville’s largest daycare has been operating in it’s basement for years.
Now, that’s set to change. Last month the district issued an eviction letter effective July 21, breaching a contract requiring six months’ notice.
“Shocked. Completely shocked and kind of wondering what the reason was behind it,” said Courtney Dubyna, owner of The Thinking Garden Early Childhood Centre.
The District’s letter referenced a 2013 seismic report. It was completed by the same engineer who lost his credentials for unprofessional conduct and negligence in designing Ridgeview Place in Langford, the building whose tenants were forced out after it was deemed unsafe.
The operator of the daycare says she would like to see a second engineering opinion and if needed, have the building repaired. She even thinks the community might help raise money to keep the church standing.
“The building in general has such a connection to the community. It’s been around for over 100 years. There used to be a church upstairs, marriages, baptisms, funerals,” said Dubyna.
It comes at a time when there is more demand for daycares than supply. The 25 affected families are reeling.
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“My wife and I are really struggling to come to terms with what might actually happen. We registered our daughter for a summer program and based a lot of our plans around her having schooling and us having child care throughout the summer,” said Colin Spensley, an affected parent.
Spensly says he and his wife faced an extensive waiting list to get their daughter into a daycare and he’s hoping the district will be open to discussing alternatives.
“It just doesn’t seem very neighbourly to have to kick out a preschool with such short notice and including breaking a contract.”
Despite emails, texts and phone calls, no one from the district’s administration, mayor or council responded to our requests for an interview or even for information.
Late in the day the mayor said the district would issue a response Friday.
An online petition to save the church has more than 1,100 signatures. The daycare’s operator says at the very least it would like the district to honour their contract that requires six months notice.