The province announced more than 3,000 new child care spaces for 35 communities across the province Friday morning, 556 of which are slated for the Greater Vernon area.
The Greater Vernon Chamber of Commerce said it welcomes the significant investment which promotes healthy families and a strong economy, but will continue to support the push for increased funding for early childhood care providers and educator training.
“We are extremely pleased with this announcement as a significant issue for many of our members and businesses in general is the attraction and retention of staff, which is directly related to an employee’s ability to find care for their child,” chamber president Krystin Kempton said following the announcement Friday, Sept. 18.
“Not only will the expanded child care options allow employers to fill much-needed positions, workplace productivity is improved when working parents have access to quality child care,” Kempton said. “Often, parents are balancing the need between the overall. quality, safety, availability and cost of child care.”
The province announced funding for child care proposals submitted by the City of Vernon, Okanagan Boys and Girls Club, Maven Lane and school districts in Vernon and Coldstream.
“We thank the provincial government for its investment in child care in our community and we want to recognize our local government and non-profits for partnering together and having a vision that benefits all of us — parents, children, residents and employers,” Kempton said.
The City of Vernon, in partnership with the Boys and Girls Club will create 182 spots — 86 in a new building on the current club site and 86 spaces at Lakers Child Care.
Maven Lane will welcome an additional 50 spots for children through the North Okanagan Child Care Society.
School District No. 22 will create a total of 156 spots in three elementary schools, Alexis Park, Ellison and Mission Hill will see 52 spots a piece.
Information regarding when the centres will be able to welcome new families will be announced at a later date.
“While this extremely positive news for the region, we should point out the chamber supports the Greater Vernon Child Care Space Action Plan and specifically the recommendation that calls for increased funding for early childhood care providers and educator training,” Kempton said. “Obviously, an expansion of child care creates new career opportunities, but we want to ensure child care operators and staff are also a priority.”