Penticton is getting a big chunk of the money the province committed to creating more daycare spaces.
The latest is for a new facility located on the Okanagan College Penticton campus, and creating 64 new spaces.
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“Earlier this year, we announced that we were distributing $11.3 million to communities throughout the province for major childcare capital to create more than 1,800 spaces. Penticton is receiving $1 million of that,” said Dan Ashton, Liberal MLA for Penticton.
That’s more, he added, than any other community in the Okanagan and even more than Surrey, the province’s fastest growing community.
The province is investing $500,000 in the Okanagan College facility, and Ashton said another $500,000 went to the YMCA for another 37 daycare spaces at Queen’s Park Elementary.
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When complete in mid-2017, the college daycare facility will be operated by the Penticton and District Community Resources Society.
“There is definitely a need for the capacity,” said PDCRS executive director Tanya Behardien. The society already operates three centres in Penticton.
The construction of the daycare, expected to begin in Feb. 2017, is also a learning experience for students at the college.
Students from the sustainable construction management technology program participated in the design, and students from the residential construction program will help build the 372-square-metre daycare, which will be located at the northern end of the campus, with access from Timmins Street.
Continuing the college’s sustainable building leadership, started with the Centre of Excellence in 2009, the daycare construction also follows LEED platinum standards, with a net-zero energy goal.
“This will be another example of how sustainable building technologies can be incorporated in comfortable learning and care space,” said regional dean Donna Lomas, who is retiring next month. She sees the daycare as a legacy project that fits into the college’s reputation for partnerships, service to students and the community.
“The new child care centre will benefit the community, but is also a major benefit to our students and staff,” said college president Jim Hamilton. “The survey that was part of the business case for the daycare clearly identified the need for this. We also know that even when our campus is less busy in the slimmer months, there will be demand for the daycare because of the increase in activity in the tourism and hospitality section.”