51 childcare spaces have been opened up in Fernie since September thanks to funds from the provincial government.
B.C. officials said Bright Beginnings Community Preschool renovated an existing building to create the new spaces for pre-k children. Renovations brought the total number of childcare spaces available in the facility to 67.
“Families across the Interior have improved access to safe and fun places for their little ones, with even more spaces opening soon,” said Roly Russell, MLA for Boundary-Similkameen. “We’re working with all kinds of partners to open child care spaces as quickly as possible. These spaces will support us in our recovery from the pandemic and will help continue building economically and socially vibrant communities. There’s still more to do to achieve truly inclusive universal child care, but we are well on our way.”
The province noted that 84 new childcare spaces have been opened recently across the Interior region, with a further 79 expected to open by March of 2022.
Funding for the spaces came from approximately $11-million from the Province’s Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund, which was given to non-profit groups, schools and other public-sector organizations.
“The past 20 months have made it very clear that child care is more important than ever,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “On top of the uncertainty of the pandemic, parents had to juggle the stress of working from home while also caring for their kids or needing to make new child care arrangements. Our Child Care Rapid Renovation Fund is one way we’re quickly addressing the need for more affordable, quality child care spaces, while also funding long-term child care projects that will benefit families and communities for generations to come.”
A further 28 licensed child care spaces will open in Elkford by late 2022 in the former municipal office. Local officials said the building is being renovated into the Elkford Childcare Centre and Community Hub, with all of the funding coming from grants. The building will act as a communal space for non-profits and local businesses to work alongside offering childcare options for the community.