The aging childcare facility in Kiwanis Park may get a much-needed makeover if the city is approved in its application to the MCFD for funding from the BC Childcare New Spaces Fund. (Photo from City of Penticton)

Penticton prepares to apply for Childcare BC New Spaces Fund

City council heard an update from staff about the necessary steps to submit an application

Big plans are in the works for the childcare centre on Edmonton Avenue.

Penticton city council heard a report from staff during the committee of the whole on Nov. 5 about the city’s intent to apply for a grant from the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s (MCFD) Childcare BC New Spaces Fund to “replace the aging Edmonton Avenue Centre in Kiwanis Park with a new, expanded childcare facility.”

The city currently faces a lack of affordable childcare spaces, an issue highlighted by the Waitlisted Project BC, which was founded by a Penticton mother with the same challenge.

“This fund was introduced in July 2019 and the city was invited directly by the MCFD to partake in the this Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, which funds up to $3 million per facility to a municipality directly and does not require any matching funds from the province. So this is cash without any commitment financially from the city to fund the production of new childcare spaces,” said Ben Johnson, the acting director of development services with the city. “We have been put on notice by the province that this will be a time-limited program so time is of the essence in terms of getting an application together for this program.”

Johnson said the city’s research shows that childcare spaces are lacking across the city, and “specifically for infants and toddler care up to three years of age and before and after school care.” This issue is impacting potential future residents of the city, he said.

READ MORE: Penticton mom seeking change in province’s childcare system

“Our economic development office has identified childcare as sometimes being the reason why people do not move to Penticton, the lack of childcare inhibits their resettlement to Penticton,” said Johnson.

In a community survey conducted by the city, Kiwanis Park and the two city-owned childcare centres within it were identified as a good opportunity for this grant to “replace these aging facilities with new and expanded childcare if the grant application is successful.”

Johnson explained that since the city does not intend to operate the facility itself, the city needs to find a non-profit partner to work with on the application for the grant, and the two existing facilities are currently operated by OneSky Community Resources. To find a partner, who would help design, build, leaser and operate the new facility, the city needs to issue an expression of interest (EOI).

Kiwanis Park would also need to undergo a zoning amendment to add the use of a major daycare centre on the Park-zoned land. He reiterated that “time is of the essence” so these two processes will proceed in parallel.

“This item is very near and dear to my heart since I have been involved in the environment of child-minding for over 30 years in this community. At the recent UBCM in Vancouver, I was able to participate in a workshop that the MCFD and staff put on regarding this opportunity,” said Coun. Judy Sentes. “They made it very clear to those of us that attended that they are already into their second call for proposals and stressed the importance of action.”

Sentes added that in her experience, an opportunity such as this “has never come forward before.” Coun. Julius Bloomfield had Johnson clarify that the city does not have a full report yet on how many spaces this proposed new centre would offer.

Because the proposed childcare centre will exist within a park space, Parks and Recreation Advisory Committee will need to approve the zoning amendment.

To report a typo, email: editor@pentictonwesternnews.com.

Jordyn Thomson | Reporter
JordynThomson 
Send Jordyn Thomson an email.
Like the Western News on Facebook.
Follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Summerland takes the 100 Radon Test Kit Challenge

Take on Radon and the Summerland Healthy Community Initiative are partnering on the campaign.

Vees take 6-3 win against rival Salmon Arm Silverbacks

Vees’ Jay O’Brien and Lukas Sillinger both had multiple-point games.

Interior Health issues warning about opioid-laced stimulants causing recent overdoses

Interior Health is urging residents using or considering using drugs to reconsider… Continue reading

Science Matters: Forming bonds in times of crisis

The climate and ecological crises touch each of us to varying degrees.… Continue reading

Give back this holiday season with SOWINS Share the Spirit campaign

Help women and children fleeing or living with abuse have a happy holiday

Abortions rights advocates urge Liberals to turn politics into policy

Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer was pressed to clarify his stance abortion over several weeks

Closing arguments begin in B.C. case launched in 2009 over private health care

Dr. Day said he illegally opened the Cambie Surgery Centre in 1996 in order to create more operating-room time

MacLean says “Coach’s Corner is no more” following Cherry’s dismissal from Hockey Night

Cherry had singled out new immigrants in for not honouring Canada’s veterans and fallen soldiers

MacKinnon powers Avs to 5-4 OT win over Canucks

Vancouver battled back late to pick up single point

Dallas Smith, Terri Clark to perform on CP Holiday Train’s B.C. stops

Annual festive food bank fundraiser rolling across province from Dec. 11 to 17

Poole’s Land finale: Tofino’s legendary ‘hippie commune’ being dismantled

Series of land-use fines inspire owner Michael Poole to sell the roughly 20-acre property.

Port Alberni mom takes school district to court over Indigenous smudging, prayer in class

Candice Servatius, who is an evangelical Christian, is suing School District 70

Family of B.C. man killed in hit-and-run plead for tips, one year later

Cameron Kerr’s family says the driver and passengers tried to cover their tracks

Chilliwack family’s dog missing after using online pet-sitting service

Frankie the pit bull bolted and hit by a car shortly after drop off through Rover.com

Most Read