City of Kamloops receives $25K grant for use in child-care space inventory

A Kamloops councillor who has been pushing the issue of a lack of child-care spaces in the city is delighted with news the city has received a $25,000 provincial grant to create an inventory of child-care spaces in the city.

“I’ve been pushing this issue, one that has been challenging to get some traction at city hall because childcare is not seen as a municipal issue,” city councillor and Deputy Mayor Dale Bass said, noting when it impacts parents’ wallets, it is, in fact, an “economic issue.”

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Council voted earlier this year to apply for the funding to look at child-care services in Kamloops. The city’s social and community development supervisor, Natalie Serl, said the money will be used to pay a contractor to conduct engagement, collect data and provide analysis. The inventory will identify all existing child-care spaces in the city, as well as the ages they serve.

Parents have told KTW there is a shortage of child-care spaces. Some parents have gone so far as to put the names of their unborn children on waitlists for day care.

“Hopefully, we’ll get a really good picture of what’s going on,” Bass said. “And, more importantly, how many kids are on those waitlists.”

Serl said she has also heard of demand.

“Anecdotally, I certainly hear that there’s a shortage, so this will be able to pinpoint where those shortages are and how significant the shortages are,” she said.

Serl said there will be many opportunities for public engagement related to the child-care inventory.

Serl said the information will support the city’s social plan and is part of a larger initiative by the province to better understand B.C.’s child-care landscape and identify potential gaps in services in communities across the province.

The Kamloops Child Development Centre on the North Shore was recently chosen to take part in a pilot project, in which families pay no more than $200 per month per child for child care. The facility is one of 53 across B.C. to take part in the provincial government’s prototype project, part of the NDP government’s 10-year ChildCare BC Plan. The NDP campaigned on a $10-a-day-daycare, a promise that has so far not come to fruition.

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