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Penticton’s Columbia Elementary School gets 34 new childcare spaces

Spaces represent a $2.25 million investment from a provincial fund
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Columbia Elementary. (Google maps)

A total of 34 before- and after-school childcare spaces are opening in Penticton, the B.C. government announced on May 13.

Located on the grounds of Columbia Elementary, the spaces will be at Leapin Lizard’s Daycare Centre.

Its opening is the result of a partnership between the province and Okanagan Skaha School District 67, and represents a $2.25 million investment from the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund. Money was used to support the building and purchase new accessible playground equipment.

“Investments like these are life-changing for everyone,” said Mitzi Dean, provincial minister of state for child care. “These new childcare spaces will serve the Penticton community well and our government looks forward to creating more positive changes for families in the coming months and years.”

School District 67 applied and received funding for the spaces in 2022.

“These new spaces will help local families have access to much-needed child care in our district,” said James Palanio, board chair of the district.

Close to 730 new licensed childcare spaces have been built in Penticton through the provincial fund since 2018.

B.C. and the federal government invested more than $260 million in 2023 to fund the creation of new licensed childcare spaces in high-need areas across the province, according to a press release.

“When I was informed that there would be a new centre opening on school grounds allowing for extra child care spaces, it was a massive relief,” said Morgan Rowe, a parent of children attending the centre at Penticton’s Columbia Elementary.

“This new centre will allow for not only my family, but I’m sure many others, to continue to earn an income to support our families, while ensuring the safety and happiness of children.”

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