The City of Quesnel is applying for provincial funding to construct a new child care facility in the community.
At its Oct. 27 meeting, council approved a request from City staff to submit an application to the Childcare B.C. New Spaces Fund for a grant up to $1,360,000 to build a new child care facility at 420 Webster Ave. in West Quesnel. Council also committed to the facility being operated as a licenced child care centre for a minimum of 15 continuous years.
This project will involve building a facility with 57 child care spaces, with 34 new spaces being added to the 23 spaces the Quesnel and District Day Care Society currently has.
The proposed lot on Webster Avenue is currently a park with a playground sitting on the southwest end, and zoning bylaw and official community plan amendments will be coming to council to permit the construction.
“The architectural concept designs show that a modern child care facility can be constructed,” community development co-ordinator Lindsay Blair wrote in her report to council. “The new facility will be owned by the City, with a five-year renewable operational contract with the Quesnel and District Day Care Society. A stipulation for funding is the requirement of a 15-year commitment to operate the facility as a child care centre.”
The Quesnel and District Day Care Society’s board of directors passed a motion in early September to explore a partnership with the City to develop a new child care centre, and the society has committed to operating the facility for a minimum of five years.
“The Quesnel and District Day Care has been operating a licenced child care facility for 48 years and wish to continue operating for many years to come,” board chair Cordell Davis wrote in a letter to council.
The society agrees to add two new spaces for children aged 36 months to school age, eight new spaces for ages zero to 36 months and 24 new after-school care spaces.
Blair says this is meeting about one-quarter of the spaces needed in Quesnel.
Coun. Martin Runge was worried the City would get stuck after five years, but Blair told council the Day Care Society wants to continue with the contracts.