Cariboo Friendship Society is hoping to transform a house at 254 First Ave. North into a daycare and has applied for a zoning amendment.
During Tuesday’s regular meeting city council gave first and second reading to an application to amend the zoning bylaw to permit a licensed daycare in the area and to allow for a minimum six off-street gravel parking spaces in the back of the property.
Normally 19 parking spaces would be required, however, because there will only be maximum of five staff members working during peak times, CFS executive director Rosanna McGregor said they were requesting a zoning amendment to allow for only six parking spaces.
McGregor said staff can always park at other CFS facilities and walk to work if necessary or access one of the free city parking lots in the vicinity of the daycare.
She also said they did not want to add additional paving to the parking area in the back, as is normally required by the parking bylaw.
“We would like to keep it as natural as possible,” she said. “The back side of the house will have more shade in the afternoons so not having black top back there will assist to keep it a little cooler for children outside enjoying the yard space.”
Mayor Walt Cobb said he did not have an issue with the parking spots being gravel, but his concern was the number of parking spaces.
“I am already receiving complaints with the construction of the new housing complex in that block,” Cobb said.
Leah Hartley, director of development services, said by giving the zoning amendment application first and second reading council was letting the public know it is willing to consider six parking spaces pending public hearing comments.
Surrounding property owner and tenants within 100 metres of the proposed daycare will be issued notices to provide input and a public hearing is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2019 at 7 p.m.
McGregor said there is someone living in the home at present, but they have been given notice to move because of the daycare.
“We will be gutting the whole house and redeveloping the upstairs and downstairs,” McGregor said, adding Sprucelee Construction has the contract for the rebuild.
Sheena Rogers manages CFS’s Little Moccasins Learning Centre, which is a preschool, and said shewill also manage the new daycare.
“We plan to be open from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the daycare,” Rogers said. “We will have 24 spaces available — 16 for ages three to five and eight for toddlers. We are going to be calling the daycare Little Mukluks.”
Working with families in the preschool, Rogers said CFS saw the need for a new daycare.
“There are lots of parents not being able to go to work because daycare is not affordable or available,” she said. “When the call came out from the province we responded and applied to Aboriginal Head Start. There are 343 new daycare spots going into the province of B.C. through this initiative.”