The province of B.C. has announced an extensive list of new child care spaces coming to Vancouver Island amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
The additional facilities are part of the New Spaces Fund, which launched just over two years ago. According to the government, the New Spaces Fund has approved an average of 700 spaces for funding each month.
The province says that nearly 16,800 spaces have been funded throughout the province so far, which is ultimately giving parents the freedom to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities.
“As a former early childhood educator, I know that quality child care makes a huge difference to families, allowing parents to go back to work or school and benefitting local economies in every part of B.C.,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development.
“I’m proud of the progress our government has made in a short time. By funding over 16,000 child care spaces across the province, our Childcare BC plan is saving parents time and money and helping children along the path to lifelong learning.”
Across Vancouver Island, new licensed child care spaces are being created.
In Victoria, 133 new licensed spaces are being added. These spaces will be divided over four separate projects: Infant Plus Daycare Centre (32 spaces), Green House Studio (six spaces), Pacifica Housing Burnside (59 spaces), Pacifica Housing Oak Park 2 (36 spaces).
Families in Comox will have access to 16 new licensed child care spaces. The Comox spaces, expected to be available in April 2022, will be at the Aspen Grove Children’s Centre for children aged 30 months to kindergarten. According to a government press release, the Comox Valley Children’s Daycare Society will operate the centre on the ground floor of a newly developed apartment complex.
In Port Hardy, 52 new licensed child care spaces are being created. The New Spaces Fund is supporting the Gwa’sala-‘Nakwaxda’xw Nations (GNN) to create eight infant/toddler spaces, 16 group child care spaces for children aged 30 months to kindergarten, 19 pre-school spaces and nine school-age spaces.
“Access to quality, affordable child care has been a challenge for families across B.C., but this issue has been exacerbated in rural communities like Port Hardy,” said Claire Trevena, MLA for North Island. “This new child care facility is so much more than a building. Local language will be incorporated into the programming, nutritious snacks and meals will be provided and the Good Food Box program will operate from it. These services cater to the health and well-being of the entire family.”
In Qualicum Beach, 68 new child care spaces have been announced by the Ppovince. Into the Woods Early Learning Studio will be creating 25 of these spaces, expected to open in September 2021. The other 43 will be funded through School District 69 and will be created at Arrowview Kids Club.
“It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a community coming together to create affordable, quality child care for local families,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “I’m proud our government is supporting the Town of Qualicum and the Qualicum School District to create new, licensed child care spaces that will offer local children a safe and caring place to learn and grow for generations.”
And Ladysmith has received $875,000 to create 12 new spaces in collaboration with the Boys and Girls Club of Central Vancouver Island.
The government claims that the expansion of availability is part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history.
The Ministry of Children and Family Development adds that COVID-19 may delay child care capital builds unexpectedly.