The City of Penticton is starting work on a plan to improve access to child care in the city; and parents and guardians who have struggled to find adequate child care are encouraged to share their thoughts.
The Penticton Child Care Action Plan will assess child care needs in the city, establish potential spaces for child care and identify actions to meet demand.
The action plan aims to identify strategies to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of child care programs in Penticton.
The plan is being supported by a $25,000 grant provided by the Province of B.C. and administered by the Union of B.C. Municipalities as part of its Community Child Care Space Creation Program.
Starting Aug. 10, the city is asking local parents, guardians and child care providers to complete a survey to share their experiences with finding or providing child care. The survey can be found at shapeyourcitypenticton.ca. It is open to parents or guardians of children up to age 12 who live or access child care in Penticton.
The Child Care Provider Survey is to be completed by the director, manager or owner of child care facilities located in Penticton. Both surveys will remain open until Sunday, Aug. 30.
Penticton’s social development specialist Adam Goodwin said access to quality child cares services is imperative to the community’s prosperity.
“Child care and early childhood education are essential to Penticton’s economic and social well-being,” said Goodwin. “Quality child care allows many families to work and ensures children have an environment in which to thrive physically, emotionally and socially. Through the creation of this strategy, we want to make sure all parents and caregivers throughout our community have access to quality and affordable child care.”
Penticton mayor John Vassilaki hopes parents and guardians are eager to give their feedback on child care in the community.
“If child care has been an issue for your family, we encourage you to share your story. This is an opportunity to confirm the shortages we’re facing throughout Penticton and to create a new action plan to stimulate positive change,” said Vassilaki.
Earlier this year, the city entered into a memorandum of understanding with OneSky Community Resources in support of developing a new child care facility at Kiwanis Park.
An application for a grant worth up to $3 million has been submitted towards a daycare facility to replace the Edmonton Avenue Centre. An update on the grant’s status is expected in the fall.
OneSky executive director Tanya Behardien said the need for more child care in Penticton is obvious.
“Our data shows a clear demand for more child care spaces in Penticton. This study will help identify the exact need and determine how the community can achieve its goals,” said Behardien.
For those who use child care facilities outside of Penticton, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen will also release a regional child care survey next month that will cover the municipalities of Keremeos, Oliver, Summerland and Princeton.