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Child care at two Nanaimo-Ladysmith elementary schools getting closer to start-up

Occupancy permits expected this month at Chase River and Ladysmith Primary child care spaces
Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools hopes to be opening child care facilities at some of its elementary schools in the coming months. (Stock photo)

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is eyeing provision of child care service in the coming months.

School District 68 received money from the provincial government to build 10 child care service facilities and Mark Walsh, the school district’s secretary-treasurer, told trustees at their Feb. 8 meeting that the standalone facilities would be leased to service providers, with a combination of before- and after-school care for children up to five years old.

Chase River and Ladysmith Primary school facilities are complete, with occupancy permits expected this month. In an e-mail, Diane McGonigle, principal of early years and care, told the News Bulletin the district hopes service comes online soon.

“This depends on how long it takes for the fire marshall and child care licensing to be able to come in,” she said. “The next step after that is applying for the government child-care grants and then opening. We are hoping all of that will not take more than two months.”

A Forest Park Elementary site is complete and expected to receive licensing in March and large and small studio facilities are expected for Georgia Avenue Elementary, pending building permits. Construction is taking place at Rock City Elementary for a facility expected to be complete in July.

While originally planning for before and after-school care at École Quarterway Elementary, the district has re-submitted a funding application as it now plans to offer some form of care for children up to five years old. It could be for infants and 3-5 year-olds or just for 3-5 year-olds, McGonigle said.

Planning is underway for sites at Seaview, Qwam Qwum Stuwixwulh, Cilaire and Pleasant Valley schools.

Walsh told trustees at the meeting that École Hammond Bay is a potential site, as it is projected to have the space.

Talks with the education support workers’ union for staffing will be continuing and a survey has been distributed to parents to gauge demand for before- and after-school care, or strictly after-school care, noted a staff report.

McGonigle told trustees that 72 people responded to the survey, with 100 per cent requesting after-school care and 40 respondents requesting care before school.

A related motion will go before the board in the future, Walsh said, with the pilot project anticipated to begin in September.

RELATED: SD68 to work on child-care service details for schools

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Karl Yu

About the Author: Karl Yu

I joined Black Press in 2010 and cover education, court and RDN. I am a Ma Murray and CCNA award winner.
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