The Early Years Centre, which was set to open Sept. 1 near Lumby, was hit with an unforeseen expense of $200,000 for a water holding system. (Photo submitted)

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

The centre will need to have a $200,000 water holding system installed before receiving permits

Just weeks away from completion and with nearly 60 families on the interest list, a childcare centre near Lumby faces a major setback.

With its foundation poured, walls raised and shingles laid, the Early Years Centre near Lavington is by all appearances ready to open doors to its infant, toddler, preschool and after-school spaces.

But due to an unforeseen construction cost, the opening date for the centre on Whitevale Road that’s being constructed by Bridge Education Society is up in the air.

In order to gain occupancy permits from the Regional District of the North Okanagan, the Society was informed it will need to install tanks to hold 250,000 litres of water so firefighters can pump from them in the event of fire. The water holding system and fire hydrant is a $200,000 bill the Society didn’t see coming.

“We know this is going to help protect our campus in the event of fire and that’s important,” says Roxanne Brierley, Capital Campaign Coordinator of the Bridge Educational Society.

“It will be a positive addition, but it is a massive and expensive undertaking that wasn’t anticipated.”

Bridge Educational Society – a registered charitable organization – has managed to raise nearly $1.4 million for construction costs of the 6,250 square foot childcare centre to date. That includes $750,000 in grants from the BC Ministry of Child & Family Development and Community Gaming. Now, the Society is forced to return to the task of fundraising and is asking local businesses and individual donors to consider supporting the centre, including naming opportunities for rooms and play areas.

“We’ve had so much interest from families who live and work in this area right from the start. Our goal has always been to cover the cost of construction through fundraising,” says Brierley.

“The building is phenomenal. The layout is spectacular. We’re so close so we want to find a way to open our doors as soon as possible for these families.”

Ground was broken on the childcare centre in April and the hope was to open the spaces for 63 children by Sept. 1, 2019.

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

READ MORE: New child care centre in Whitevale raising funds

READ MORE: Lumby pedalling toward bike park


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