A pair of much needed child care facilities will soon be ready to welcome kids in Vernon.
Mayor and council members were joined by city officials at a ribbon cutting ceremony in front of the newly built Lakers Clubhouse child care facility after taking a tour of the other facility at the Vernon Recreation Complex Wednesday morning, Sept. 7.
Both facilities will be run by the Boys and Girls Club of Okanagan (BCGO). Between the two facilities, 198 new licenced child care spaces will be opened to the community.
“We are so excited to continue our partnership with the City of Vernon on these two new child care facilities. The new facilities will help us to continue to provide high-quality programs to families in the Vernon area,” said Jeremy Welder, CEO of BGCO.
It is expected that the Lakers Clubhouse facility will welcome kids in October, while the Recreation Complex space will be ready to open doors in November.
Vernon-Monashee MLA Harwinder Sandhu expressed her excitement for the coming opening of nearly 200 centrally located child care spaces.
“Since 2018, our ChildCareBC investments have made a big difference for Vernon families, employers and businesses, and now more families will have access to child care that will enable parents to work or pursue educational goals,” Sandhu said.
The new licenced spaces will be available for children from the infant and toddler stage to Kindergarten.
Both sites are just weeks away from completion.
“The city is extremely grateful for the development of these facilities and the addition of these child care spaces to support the needs of Greater Vernon families,” said Mayor Victor Cumming. “It is because of strong partnerships like this one between the province, the city, and a local service provider that we can continue to foster the development and growth of a healthy, vibrant, family-oriented community.”
Cumming said he was pleased after seeing the modern design of the facilities.
“Bright, bright hallways, bright classrooms, clean lines, great design. It feels very welcoming,” he said. “It’s really well done both inside and outside.”
According to Vernon’s Child Care Space Action Plan, the number of kids in Vernon aged zero to five is expected to grow from 2,287 in 2022 to 2,452 in 2029.
The city contributed the land for both child care centres and received a total of $7 million to develop the buildings. $6 million came from the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund and $1 million from the UBCM Community Child Care Space Creation Program.
Residents in need of child care can find information about program registration for the new spaces by contacting BGCO at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by phone at 250-542-3121.
In addition to thanking the province and UBCM for their financial suport, the city thanked Stantec Consulting, Sawchuk Developments and ANR Construction for their work to bring the child care centres to life.