Child care providers across the Kootenays are getting a boost from Columbia Basin Trust to increase access to child care and make improvements to their facilities by expanding the number of spaces, strengthening their workforce and making their buildings more energy efficient.
“Everyday, child care providers and early childhood educators help families care for their children and create early learning environments that are essential for healthy development,” Nicole MacLellan, delivery of benefits manager with the Trust said in a news release.
“Having access to quality and affordable care enables parents to work, supports businesses to retain employees, and helps our communities thrive, all of which we heard are important to Basin residents.”
The Trust offers a variety of supports to help child care providers create and maintain accessible and affordable spaces in the area, and recruit and retain qualified early childhood educators. The Trust is providing $2.4 million to:
- help create 143 new child care spaces
- improve the energy efficiency of 347 existing spaces
- enhance the wages of 234 early childhood educators
- provide a training wage to 50 early childhood educators and early childhood educator assistants to complete or upgrade their qualifications.
Adding spaces in Fruitvale
With funding from both the Trust and the Province of BC, the Village of Fruitvale is building the Beaver Valley Child Care Centre on the site of the former Beaver Valley Middle School.
The Trust also provided support during the development stages of this project. The new centre will add 37 child care spaces and help meet the critical need for child care in Fruitvale and the area. The centre, which will be operated by the Beaver Valley Nursery School, is expected to open in the summer 2023.
“The Beaver Valley Child Care Centre aims to assist all families — including the parents of children requiring extra support, Indigenous residents, vulnerable populations, newcomers to Canada and young parents — so that they can attend work and school and do other important tasks,” said Kelli Tuttle, the village’s chief administrative officer.
“It will seek to develop self-confidence and self-esteem in the children, and social and emotional skills that lead to future success.”
Targeting energy efficiency in Cranbrook
In Cranbrook, Summit Community Services is improving the energy efficiency of the 32-space Little Summit Daycare. Improvements include replacing the front door and windows, installing an energy recovery ventilator, LED lighting, occupancy sensors and solar panels.
“We are excited to be going forward with the renovations for energy improvements over the coming months,” says manager Tara Long. “The improvements will make the building more energy efficient, lower our operating costs, and provide more comfort for the children.”
Aiming for lower energy consumption in Creston
In Creston, the Kootenai Community Centre Society is improving the energy efficiency and consumption of the 25-space Teddy Bear Daycare. Activities include upgrading the attic insulation, replacing windows, installing LED lighting, adding a high efficiency heat pump, and installing occupancy sensors.
“The increased efficiency also means lower costs for the organization, which relies solely on parent fees and small grants to operate. We are so grateful for these much-needed improvements,” says executive director Rebecca Gidney. “These upgrades will also promote an updated, more comfortable, improved environment for the children in our care.”
The full list of projects approved for funding is below.
Child Care Capital Grants – Energy Improvements
These projects support the energy conservation and efficiency of child care centres to enhance their quality, retention and sustainability.
|Castlegar||Blueberry Creek Early Learning Centre||Install energy recovery ventilation, heat pump hot water heater, high-efficiency furnaces, LED lighting, occupancy sensors and a solar photovoltaic array.||60||$98,840|
|Castlegar||Kootenay Family Place – Hobbit Hill Children’s Centre||Replace windows, install LED lighting, a high-efficiency furnace and occupancy sensors.||20||$18,860|
|Castlegar||USSC Children’s Orchard Preschool||Install LED lighting and a high-efficiency heating, ventilation and cooling system.||15||$16,960|
|Cranbrook||Summit Community Services – Little Summit Daycare||Replace doors and windows, install ERV, LED lighting, occupancy sensors, and a solar PV array.||32||$52,850|
|Creston||Kootenai Community Centre Society Teddy Bear Daycare||Upgrade attic insulation, replace windows, install LED lighting, heat pump and occupancy sensors.||25||$19,780|
|Nelson||Nelson Waldorf School Childcare Centre||Install a heat pump hot water heater.||24||$2,400|
|Trail||Sunningdale Children’s Centre||Replace window, install a heat pump hot water heater, LED lighting and occupancy sensors.||137||$52,705|
|Trail||Trail and District Daycare Society – Sunshine Children’s Centre||Install an ERV, high-efficiency furnace, LED lighting, occupancy sensors and a solar PV array.||26||$35,320|
|Winlaw||Appledale Daycare Society||Upgrade attic insulation, replace door, install LED lighting, heat pump and install a solar PV array.||8||$31,480|
Child Care Capital Grants – New Spaces
These projects support the creation of new licensed child care spaces within the Columbia Basin.
|Elkford||Alpine Childcare Solutions||48||$20,000|
|Elkford||Elkford Child Development Society||30||$20,000|
|Fernie||Bright Beginnings: A Community Preschool||9||$11,875|
|Fruitvale||Village of Fruitvale||37||$250,000|
|Proctor||Seonaid (Erin) Christopherson||2||$1,000|
|Revelstoke||Caribou Kids Ltd.||8||$3,165|
|Wilmer||Columbia River Valley Rural Roots Society||9||$5,000|
Early Childhood Educators Support
These programs help address the shortage of Early Childhood Educators (ECE) by supporting the recruitment and retention of ECEs in the Basin by providing training and wage subsidies for licensed child care facilities; both are administered by the College of the Rockies.
|Basin-Wide||Early Childhood Educator Training Wage Program||Provides a training wage to 50 early childhood educator assistants and certified early childhood educators to date, employed by licensed child care facilities in the Columbia Basin, to support them to complete and/or upgrade their early childhood educator qualifications.||$601,330|
|Basin-Wide||Early Childhood Educator Wage Subsidy Program||Provides a wage subsidy to support the recruitment and retention of 234 early childhood educators employed by licensed child care facilities in the region.||$1,125,010|