The official opening of the 116-space Edmonton Avenue Child Care Centre in Penticton came with welcome news of further new childcare spaces.
At the opening of the new centre at Kiwanis Park near the Safety Village, Mayor Julius Bloomfield announced a new partnership with the city and the YMCA of the Southern Interior to provide another 80 spaces of child care out of the Penticton Community Centre.
The facility and the newly announced partnerships are steps towards the goal of 722 childcare spaces by 2030. According to a release by the city, Penticton is on track to have met 60 per cent of the targeted spaces by 2024, which includes the introduction of after-school care by School District 67.
“Really, I want to start off by thanking the parents of the children who came to city council years ago, all that time ago and and told us about their struggles for childcare, explained to us the situation and really spurred the council into action at that time,” said Bloomfield. “They say it takes a village to raise a child. Well, it takes a lot more than a village to put something like this together and raise all these children.”
The Edmonton Avenue facility broke ground in 2021, after receiving $2.9 million in funding to replace the old Little Triumphs care centre. Construction was briefly delayed at the start due to the proximity of the Thomas Creek Wildfire, before getting fully underway.
The 7,500-square-foot stand-alone facility features six child care rooms, kitchen equipment, office spaces, and storage rooms.
The official opening of the Edmonton Avenue centre comes as the place fills up, with children having begun to enjoy the facility in phases since January, 2023.
Shelby Alexander, a Penticton parent with a child in the centre, had nothing but praise for it and the staff, and an appreciation for the opportunity for her child to be accepted.
“My husband and I are both full time working professionals and like many young families, we were very aware of the childcare crisis across the province,” said Alexander. “So early on in my pregnancy, I got on all the wait lists and eagerly awaited that phone call. And after about a year and a half and kind of checking in, we got that magic phone call that our little one got in.”
“I think this is a poster child for what is possible in this town when everybody works together and I think we need to see more of these, so more young families can have that moment where they get a call where they feel like they’ve won the lottery,” added Alexander.
The provincial government funded 77 spaces by providing $1.95 million in capital spending and the remaining spaces came from a $1 million contribution from the Union of BC Municipalities.
The project is a partnership between the City of Penticton, OneSky Community Resources, the Province of British Columbia, and Union of BC Municipalities.
The city is providing a 60-year lease and access to the park. OneSky will operate and maintain the centre, and the province is providing the majority of the capital funding.
Parents/guardians can obtain more information about being on the waitlist from OneSky Community Resources by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. This will be OneSky’s fifth child care facility in Penticton.
The new partnership with the YMCA of the Southern Interior will provide 12 spaces for children under three-years old, 44 spaces for children three-years old to kindergarten age and 24 spaces for school-aged children.
The Power Street Child Care project is being supported with a $2.2 million grant from the province.
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