PRINCE GEORGE – As part of the Major Child Care Capital program, the provincial government is investing $500,000 under the BC Early Years Strategy to create 81 new licensed child-care spaces for families in Prince George.
“Many families depend on child care so that they can pursue career and education opportunities, knowing their children are safe and well cared for,” Prince George-Mackenzie MLA Mike Morris said. “By providing a healthy early learning environment where children are encouraged and inspired to grow, learn and socialize, these new spaces will help create a positive difference for children.”
“It can be very challenging to find high-quality, affordable child care in B.C. and we are committed to making that care more accessible for Northern families,” Prince George-Valemount MLA Shirley Bond said. “Collaborating with the YMCA of Northern B.C. helps us create programs like the Lac des Bois Family Development Centre that give children the kind of opportunities they need to reach their full potential.”
The funding enables the YMCA of Northern B.C. to operate the Lac des Bois Family Development Centre within Ecole Lac Des Bois French Immersion Elementary. Funds will provide 12 spaces for infants and toddlers, 25 spaces for children aged three to five, 24 spaces from school-aged children and 20 spaces for pre-school children.
“We are tremendously excited to provide families quality child care in a school setting that will support all ages of child-care needs including developmentally specific rooms for infants and toddlers, 3-5’s, preschool, and for after school care,” YMCA of Northern B.C. CEO Amanda Alexander said. “Our unique YMCA curriculum, Playing to Learn, will support early learning, building community connections both within the centre as well as with the school, while promoting healthy, active living.”
In January 2015, the provincial government encouraged child-care providers to apply for the second intake of major child care capital funding to create new licensed child-care spaces throughout B.C. These new spaces are part of government’s commitment to support the creation of more than 2,000 new spaces by March 2016.
Non-profit child-care providers could apply for up to $500,000, while private child-care providers could apply for up to $250,000. Priority was given to applications to create child-care spaces in underserved areas of B.C. and on school grounds, where children can smoothly transition from early years programs, to the classroom, to after-school care.
This investment marks the second phase of child-care major capital funding rolling out, and will allow child-care providers to:
- Build a new child care facility, including the cost of buying land or a building.
- Purchase and assemble a modular building and develop a site.
- Renovate an existing building.
- Buy eligible equipment (including playground equipment) and furnishings to support new child-care spaces in an existing facility.
The provincial government is now in the process of working with child-care providers to sign project agreements that include the specific requirements that providers have identified for each site, such as the need to lease or buy property, obtain local zoning permits and hire contractors to renovate the sites. In the case of Lac des Bois Family Development Centre, construction on the new child-care spaces is expected to begin in June and completed in March 2016.
The BC Early Years Strategy is an eight-year government commitment to improve the accessibility, affordability and quality of early-years programs and services for families with young children. For more information on the Child Care Major Capital Funding Program, visit: mcf.gov.bc.ca/childcare/major_capital.htm