Public input is being sought for a new, proposed 72-space childcare centre in Williams Lake that would provide before and after school care for children ages 6 to 12.
Williams Lake economic development officer Beth Veenkamp said the need for such a facility was recommended in the 2020 Williams Lake Child Care Needs Assessment and Action Plan consultation.
She is hoping the City can apply to the BC New Spaces Fund for the new centre, which provides up to $3 million.
With asssitance from Zirnhelt Timber Frame’s Sam Zirnhelt a conceptual plan and budget has been developed for a total cost of $2.88 million.
“In this kind of building, which is a single storey, there are a few things that keep the cost down,” Veenkamp said. “We wouldn’t require an elevator or a sprinkler system because of the configuration of the building and the amount of exits.”
The square footage cost would be about $325.
Veenkamp said the City’s contribution could be a parcel of City-owned property between the Williams Lake Seniors Activity Centre and the Cariboo Memorial Recreation Complex (CMRC) parking lot, resulting in the reduction of approximately 10 parking spaces at the CMRC parking lot and 15 at the Seniors Activity Centre.
“We thought that being next to the recreation centre providing additional opportunities to increase our programming was a good idea.”
City council liked the idea, but not everyone wanted that location.
Coun. Scott Nelson said the area was ‘seniors driven’ and thought a different location would be better.
Coun. Sheila Boehm agreed childcare is needed, but asked if there might be different location as well.
“I can see why you want it in the recreation centre parking lot, but maybe there is a different location in town somewhere and the public may have a great idea where,” Boehm said.
Mayor Walt Cobb said there is a parking lot near Marie Sharpe Elementary School, another empty lot across from a park, but if it could be shown that the Seniors Activity Centre’s parking lot could be reconfigured, it might work at the site Veenkamp was proposing.
Council agreed to engage the public on the merits of submitting an application to the BC New Spaces Fund, and directed staff to explore potential building sites and to consult with the Williams Lake Seniors Activity Centre, Williams Lake Farmers Market and community residents as well as make presenations to School District 27 and the Cariboo Regional District.