FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
District of Squamish receives $2,000,100 for new childcare facility
Municipally-owned childcare facility will provide 36 new full-time spaces – 12 Infant/Toddler plus 24 group care spaces
Squamish, B.C. – The District of Squamish has received $2,000,100 from the B.C. ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund to build and co-locate a municipally-owned childcare facility at Valleycliffe Elementary School in Squamish in partnership with School District 48 and Sea to Sky Community Services Society. The facility will provide 36 new full-time spaces – 12 Infant/Toddler spaces plus 24 group care spaces (30-months to school age) in a new, 250 square metre stand-alone building. The school site is centrally located in the Valleycliffe neighbourhood, adjacent to a municipally-owned park. The childcare centre will be supported by a long-term lease agreement between School District 48 and District of Squamish, and operated long-term by Sea to Sky Community Services Society.
“We are grateful to the Province for these funds that will support the expansion of childcare facilities in our community,” says District of Squamish Mayor Karen Elliott. “Access to quality, affordable childcare is essential to community health and vitality, early childhood development and a family’s ability to earn an income, especially mothers. We have long advocated for increased childcare spaces, affordability, better wages and local educational opportunities for Early Childhood Educators in Squamish and this initiative represents the efforts of much collaboration and dedication as part of our continued and ongoing work of removing barriers to help all families access quality childcare.”
Construction of the project is expected to begin in summer 2022. The facility is anticipated to be fully operational in fall 2023.
The ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund provides funding to projects that support the creation of new childcare spaces in order to help families access quality, affordable and inclusive childcare across the province. For more information about the program, read here.
The Squamish2040 Official Community Plan prioritized the completion of a childcare strategy to address critical local childcare issues such as lack of available space, the need for before and after-school care and the high cost of childcare for children under 36 months. Council endorsed the Squamish Childcare Needs Assessment and Strategy in October 2018.
In March 2019, the District received a $25,000 Community Childcare Planning Program grant for a Squamish Community Childcare Action Planning and Implementation Project, a 12-month collaborative project that refined targets and plans for the number, location and type of childcare spaces across the community.
In May 2020, Council endorsed the Squamish Childcare Action Plan. The Action Plan identifies high priority recommendations from the Squamish Childcare Needs Assessment and Strategy and includes practical next steps for advancing each recommendation. In October 2020 the plan was accepted by the Ministry of Children and Family Development.
For more information visit squamish.ca/childcare.
“We are building a future where childcare is a core service that parents in all parts of B.C. can rely on so they can pursue work, education or other opportunities. The Province’s New Spaces Fund is helping ensure there are spaces available to any family that wants it, when and where they need it. It’s great to see the District of Squamish, School District 48 and Sea to Sky Community Services Society coming together to help increase access to childcare for families in the Squamish area.”
– Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Childcare, Government of British Columbia
“School District No. 48 (Sea to Sky) recognizes the importance of pre-school childcare in our community to support families and children as they approach school age. We strongly believe that our community benefits from accessibility to an accommodating and nourishing childcare system that will continuously support the children and families of the Sea to Sky. We are pleased to collaborate with our community partners on this excellent initiative.”
– Danielle Haverstock, Secretary Treasurer, School District No.48
“Quality, accessible childcare is vital to a healthy community,” says Jaye Russell, Executive Director of Sea to Sky Community Services. “Providing adequate quality care offers significant social and economic benefits to the community. Understanding how challenging it can be to find childcare in Squamish, particularly for the infant-toddler age group, we are looking forward to offering local parents 12 additional infant-toddler childcare spaces and 24 preschool-aged childcare spaces out of the Valleycliffe Childcare Centre. We are grateful for the support of our partners for making this happen.”
– Jaye Russell, Executive Director of Sea to Sky Community Services.
“We are thrilled that this community partnership can provide access to much-needed affordable and quality childcare spaces for families in Squamish. It is wonderful to see the Ministry of Education & Childcare and our local community partners come together to make this happen.”
– Phillip Clarke, Director of Instruction: Learning Services, School District No. 48
I acknowledge that I work on the traditional territory of the Squamish Nation, Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Úxwumixw.