Construction set to begin on childcare centre

NANAIMO – Tillicum Lelum to provide 25 new child care spaces in Nanaimo.

Construction is set to begin on a brand new childcare facility in Nanaimo’s south end.

Tillicum Lelum has announced that construction of a $2-million childcare centre on Tenth Street will start later this summer after receiving a $500,000 grant from B.C.’s Ministry of Child and Family Development.

Once completed, the 510-square metre two-story building will provide 25 childcare spaces. It will also offer after school care programs and will be used by Tillicum Lelum’s Qeq College, a baby college and summer school readiness program.

“We are striving to build a centre of excellence for children,” said Tammie Myles, Tillicum Lelum’s project manager.

Myles said the new facility will give Tillicum Lelum the ability to provide better services to families and individuals and helps the organization achieve its vision to provide a one-stop shop for individuals who need to use the Tenth Street location.

“We can bring health services, oral and dental services and social services and wrap-around services for the families while their kids are attending daycare,” Myles said.

Tillicum Lelum, which has locations throughout Nanaimo, offers programs in the areas of health, social services, education, justice, recreation, culture and housing.

According to the organization, nearly 50 per cent of children under the age of six in Nanaimo’s south-end are listed as vulnerable on B.C.’s Early Childhood Development Index.

“There is all kinds of research showing that if children are supported from zero to six years old they have better outcomes in life,” Myles said. “We are trying to build a centre where we can be part of that foundation.”

The new childcare centre can be used by everyone, regardless of their race, religion or status, according to Myles, who said that there is a misconception among the general public that anyone who is First Nations can access services on reserves anywhere at anytime in Canada.

“If I’m not Snuneymuxw, I can’t go down to Snuneymuxw and get services,” Myles said.

Though open to everyone, Myles explained that the new centre’s main priority is to provide services for aboriginal populations, particularly youth.

“We are trying to create better outcomes and better futures for everybody, but specifically for urban aboriginal people because I think they truly are an invisible population,” she said.

The childcare centre is expected to be open by January.