Over 80 child care facilities will add new or improve existing child care spaces thanks to over $481,000 from Columbia Basin Trust (CBT).

CBT said the funding will help create 74 new spaces and improve 1,652 existing ones across the region.

“To work and provide for their families, people in the Basin have told us they need access to safe and affordable child care. Also, we’ve heard from child care providers that support for facility upgrades and specialized equipment strengthens their ability to provide the best possible care,” said Nicole MacLellan, Delivery of Benefits Manager with Columbia Basin Trust. “We commend Basin providers for the essential work they do caring for and supporting the development of our children, and we are pleased to help improve the safety and quality of their operations.”

The Trust said the Boys and Girls Club (BGC) of Cranbrook will get an additional 24 spaces by renovating a new facility and upgrading lighting, flooring, and bathrooms, and adding a washer and dryer. The project will receive $10,000 to fund the upgrades.

As well, the existing Prime Time Afterschool Program will move to the new location and become known as the Kootenay Street Clubhouse.

“We are happy to be able to open up new spaces for afterschool care in Cranbrook,” said Lori McNeill, Executive Director of BGC Cranbrook. “Due to lengthy wait-lists and limited options for licensed care in our community, we are excited to expand and serve more children and families daily.”

Meanwhile, $5,000 will go to Eva Joseph Learning and Cultural Society at ʔakisq̓nuk First Nation. The Trust said the money will be used to buy strollers, seating, shelving and a dishwasher for the 56-space Little Badgers Early Learning Program.

“Little Badgers’ focus is nature-based and we try to spend as much time as possible outside. As we recently added more spaces, we need more strollers that will enable our younger children to go for hikes and access our outdoor classroom,” said Carrie Rickards, General Manager of the Eva Joseph Learning and Cultural Society. “Plus, having new, easy-to-clean shelving and seating, and a new dishwasher will make it easier for us to stay sanitized.”

A full list of every project ser to receive funding can be found below.

More: 2020/21 Child Care Capital Grants (CBT)