Erin Barry (left) speaks to supporters and officials about the new Early Years Centre in rural Lumby which is seeking support in order to open its doors. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

Support sought to ease childcare crisis near Vernon

Early Years Centre outside of Lumby opening delayed, leaving parents in a lurch

Efforts to ease the child care crisis in Lumby with the new Early Years Centre have hit a roadblock, leaving desperate parents in tears.

“Literally every day, more than once a day, we are getting calls after calls after calls, (asking) ‘are you open?’” said Andrea Thiessen, head of the Whitevale school.

The new centre hoped to be open by now, but recently received notice of a requirement to install a $200,000 water holding system before permits could be issued.

That has not only pushed the opening date back, it has left parents who were relying on the centre neing open, scrambling.

“The sad reality of our area is there are moms in tears as they aren’t able to go back to work.They’re going to lose their positions because there’s just no day care,” Thiessen said.

“We are truly in a day care shortage. It really is quite a critical need, everywhere.”

The Early Years Centre was aiming to alleviate that need with 63 spaces for all ages, from infancy to Grade 7.

“We could open five of these centres and they would all be full,” Thiessen said.

The new centre in rural Lumby has almost 50 people on a waiting list for its infant-toddler program, which has 12 spaces.

So the $1.5-million centre is looking for a boost from the community to get its doors open sooner rather than later.

“This is a community asset,” capital campaign coordinator Roxanne Brierley said.

Not only is the new centre helping put parents back into the workforce, it is creating jobs with 10 positions— an expansion from the existing facility.

It’s a big jump from the two workers the centre employed five years ago to a new total of 22.

The centre is run by the Bridge Educational Society, a non-profit venture.

Those interested in making donations, or a avail of a range of naming opportunities (everything from the play yard all families pass through each day to one of the four classrooms) can contact bridgeeducational.org/early-yearscenter/ to learn more or contact Brierley at learn@bridgeeducational.org.

READ MORE: Lumby childcare centre hit with unforeseen expense, asks for public help

READ MORE: Tolko donation helps build new daycare in Lumby

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Erin Barry shows the existing Waldorf facility, which is being expanded with the Early Years Centre in rural Lumby. (Jennifer Smith - Morning Star)

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