The City of Quesnel is hoping to build a new child care facility in West Quesnel and has applied for a provincial grant to fund the proposed 57-space centre.
At its Nov. 3 meeting, council took the next step necessary by providing first reading of proposed Official Community Plan and zoning amendment bylaws to allow a child care facility at Webster Avenue Park at 420 Webster Ave.
The city will be sending correspondence to the Cariboo Regional District, Lhtako Dené Nation, Nazko First Nation, ?Esdilagh First Nation, Lhoosk’uz First Nation and Quesnel School District to notify them of the proposed amending bylaws and the proposed project, and once draft development plans have been created, the city will post these plans on its website to allow for feedback.
Final design plans will be completed following grant approval, and council will complete second reading and set a public hearing date following the finalization of those plans, according to a staff report from Tanya Turner, the city’s director of development services.
If the grant is not approved, council can decide whether or not to proceed with the zoning amendment prior to second reading and setting of a public hearing, noted Turner.
The total cost of the project is $1,360,000, and the city is hoping it will be 100-per-cent funded through the Childcare B.C. New Spaces Fund.
The city has determined the Webster Avenue Park property is the best site for a new child care facility, and zoning and Official Community Plan amendments are needed to allow institutional uses on this park land.
The plan is the facility and land will be City of Quesnel property, and an operator agreement will be in place for the operation of the facility. The Quesnel and District Day Care Society has committed to entering into an agreement with the city to operate the facility.
The new centre would have 57 child care spaces — the 23 spaces the Quesnel and District Day Care Society currently offers, plus 34 new spaces.
The site at 420 Webster Ave. is currently zoned and used as a park, and a playground on the southwest end of the lot is expected to be used by the day care and fenced off from public use, according to Turner.
The zoning of the property must be amended to allow group day care use, and the Official Community Plan designation for this site must be amended from park to institutional use to facilitate the required zoning change.
The North Cariboo Regional Child Care Action Plan has identified that the highest need for child care resources is within West Quesnel, according to Turner.