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$2 million from province creates 56 new childcare spaces in Nanaimo

Spaces created at BGC Central Vancouver Island and Nanaimo Innovation Academy
BGC Central Vancouver Island’s Fifth Street location. (News Bulletin photo)

The provincial government announced partnerships in Nanaimo to open 56 new childcare spaces.

A partnership between the province and BGC Central Vancouver Island has created 40 new childcare spaces, and a partnership with Nanaimo Innovation Academy Foundation will allow for 16 new spaces there.

The BGC spaces were built with $1.5 million in provincial funding to cover renovation costs, large appliances and other equipment, and a bus. The new spaces accommodate children from infants up to 12 years old.

“Finding safe local childcare can be extremely stressful for families,” said Doug Routley, MLA for Nanaimo-North Cowichan, said in a press release March 25. “Investments like these are life-changing for everyone. These new childcare spaces will serve our community well.”

BGC CVI provides transportation for children at its facility at no extra cost and fees for the childcare facility are partially or fully waived for families facing financial hardship. The organization also partners with Nanaimo FoodShare to support families experiencing food insecurity during the summer months.

Hannah Crawford, a parent, said in the release that the new spaces at BGC’s Fifth Street location means that both children in her family attend the same centre.

“Having only one drop off and pick up each day means we get back time to spend as a family,” she said. “As our kids move from infant toddler to three to five to before and after school care, they’ll be able to remain attached to the same centre, providing stability and strong relationships for both them and us.”

BGC Central Vancouver Island executive director Karen Love said BGC is the only provider of $10-a-day childcare in Nanaimo.

“Having accessible, affordable childcare helps Nanaimo families and Nanaimo’s workforce,” said Sheila Malcolmson, Nanaimo MLA, in the release. “BGC in Nanaimo has been a great partner in our government’s child care expansion. I’m glad they’re now welcoming new kids and families.”

The Nanaimo Innovation Academy spaces are possible thanks to $500,000 from the province to support the cost of construction, large appliances, outdoor play equipment and a bus.

“There is an urgent need for high-quality childcare,” said Keely Freeman, executive director of Nanaimo Innovation Academy, in a press release. “The space is intentionally designed to spark creativity and imagination in our children, provide a safe and caring environment, and connect children to their community and nature.”

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