Construction has started on two facilities in Vernon that will provide access to nearly 200 new licensed child care spaces for young children. The two child care centres have been made possible thanks to grant funding from the Province of British Columbia and the Union of BC Municipalities (UBCM).
“These new spaces are going to make such a difference to families right here in Vernon,” said Harwinder Sandhu, MLA for Vernon-Monashee. “Inclusive, affordable childcare means parents can pursue new education or career opportunities, knowing their kids are being well cared-for. I’m so happy our government is able to partner with the City of Vernon to make this happen, and am grateful for their work.”
The larger of the two facilities is being constructed by Sawchuk Developments on the south end of the Recreation Complex on 35th Avenue. It will include 124 care spaces (24 infant/toddler spaces and 100 spaces for children aged three to kindergarten).
The second facility will be located adjacent to the Lakers Clubhouse in the Okanagan Landing area and is being constructed by ANR Construction Ltd. It will include 74 spaces (24 infant/toddler spaces and 50 spaces for children aged three to kindergarten). Both facilities will be owned by the City of Vernon and will be operated through an agreement by the Okanagan Boys & Girls Club.
“Supporting a healthy, vibrant, family-oriented community is a priority for City Council,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “We have heard clearly from citizens that many more child care spaces are needed in our region. By adding these spaces, we will be helping parents to re-enter or stay in the workforce, advance careers, operate businesses, or attend schooling or training. This is how our community will continue to grow and become more sustainable. The City is extremely grateful to the Province and UBCM for making these projects a reality to further support Greater Vernon families.”
In 2020, Council received the results of the Greater Vernon Child Care Space Action Plan. The strategies put forward in that plan resulted in the City’s application for infrastructure grants to increase the number of child care spaces for the citizens of Greater Vernon.
Both of the City’s applications to the BC Child Care Space Creation program were successful and $3 million in project funding was awarded for each of the two child care centers. A third UBCM Community Child Care Space Creation Program grant for $1 million was received as a top up and funding source to provide the infant/toddler spaces at the Recreation Complex Child Care Facility. The total funding received for both projects is $7 million.
The two new facilities are scheduled to be open to provide child care by the fall of 2022 and will make a significant impact in meeting the community need for child care.
Local dignitaries visit the construction site of the Recreation Complex child care facility. [Above L-R: Brian Christianson (Stantec), Randy Black (Sawchuk Developments), Shayne Wright (Manager, Recreation Programs), Kirstie Blanleil (Boys & Girls Club), Coun. Kelly Fehr, Coun. Kari Gares, Mayor Victor Cumming, MLA Harwinder Sandhu, Coun. Brian Quiring, Coun. Akbal Mund, Jeremy Welder (Boys & Girls Club), Jordan Peterson (Stantec), Gord Sandrin (Shawchuk Developments).]
Local dignitaries visit the construction site of the Lakers child care facility. [Above L-R: Coun. Kelly Fehr, Coun. Akbal Mund, Kirstie Blanleil (Boys & Girls Club), Arnie Wiebe (ANR Construction Ltd.), Jeremy Welder (Boys & Girls Club), MLA Harwinder Sandhu, Shayne Wright (Manager, Recreation Programs), Coun. Kari Gares, Brian Christianson (Stantec), Mayor Victor Cumming, Jordan Peterson (Stantec).]