The Women’s Contact Society will receive $500,000 from the provincial government to build a new daycare in Williams Lake.
Its existing Kidcare Daycare will move from the present location behind Lake City Secondary’s Columneetza campus to a space between the school bus loop and Nesika Elementary School on the north side of Columneetza.
Under sunny skies Friday afternoon, Cariboo-Chilcotin MLA Donna Barnett made the funding announcement on behalf of Stephanie Cadieux, Minister of Children and Family Development.
“This new facility will provide 78 new child care spaces, including after-school care,” Barnett said. “It’s an exciting day for Williams Lake.”
Women’s Contact Society executive director Irene Willsie described the new facility as a good partnership between the society and School District 27.
“Nesika has a fabulous playground area that we’ll be able to utilize so that’s a cost saving,” she said of the new location.
The entire cost of the project is estimated at $787,000. Spruce Lee Construction Ltd., the successful bidder, has stepped up as a financial partner and the Women’s Contact Society will be contributing its own funds to augment the government funds.
With the new daycare, there will be more options available to working parents because the hours of operation will be from 5 a.m. to midnight, seven days a week.
In putting together a business plan to apply for the funding, the WCS looked at information from Stats Canada that determined more than 42 per cent of the workforce in Williams Lake works atypical hours.
Further observation of job postings in December 2014 and January 2015, showed 78 per cent of the jobs advertised in the area were for atypical hours.
“There’s a daycare crisis right across Canada and Williams Lake is no exception,” Willsie said. “Right now we are open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and many daycares in the area are open even shorter hours.”
The business plan also considered investment statistics from a TD Bank top economist who reported that every dollar invested in childcare translates into a $1.49 to $2.78 return.
“I think the government is making this investment in us because it’s an investment in the area’s economic development,” she added.
Additionally there will be a garden at the new facility and a gardening program for children and parents. All produce will be used in the daycare and given to parents to take home.
When Kidcare Daycare first opened it was because the WCS had a dream to provide daycare for young parents so they could continue going to school.
It has been successful, Willsie said, noting there are staff members at the daycare today who used the program as young parents, finished high school, went on to study early childhood education and returned to work at the centre.
Shovels are anticipated to hit the ground within three to four months and the new facility will open late 2015 or early 2015.