Child care needs are being surveyed in Coldstream with plans to hopefully build two facilities in the district. (Submitted Photo)

North Okanagan looks to ease child care crisis

Two centres considered depending on demand

Child care facilities could be coming to Coldstream and Lavington, if the demand is there.

The District of Coldstream wants to hear from residents who need child care now or in the future. A community survey, in conjunction with the City of Vernon, is open until Nov. 30 with a link on the district website, or visit https://www.engagevernon.ca/community-child-care-space-needs-assessment.

READ MORE: City of Vernon assessing child care spaces

“We need to put together a bit of a needs assessment,” said Mayor Jim Garlick, who urges families to participate.

“We are looking at two facilities in Coldstream, at the west end and east end, and we are working with a non-profit childcare provider to create enough spaces to hopefully deal with the demand in the area.”

One option Coldstream is considering is rebuilding the Women’s Institute Hall and incorporating a child care centre.

The other, likely more immediate, area would be Lavington Park.

“We’ve already been at discussions with the province and they are very positive with what we’re doing. They (B.C. government) would fund all of the building of the child care facility, about to $3-4 million,” said Garlick.

“People are in a tough place and we are trying to do this as quickly as possible,” he said, hoping to start in the next year.

Helping families stay employed also boosts economic development, said Garlick, adding that it also makes housing more affordable with two parents working.

Plus Coldstream and Lavington could serve neighbouring communities needing child care.

“If you live in Lumby and you’re passing through on your way to Vernon.,I see those locations as being on your way,” said Garlick.

A community open house will also take place Nov. 24 from 9 a.m. to noon in the auditorium of the Vernon Recreation Centre. A bouncy castle and onsite childcare will be available.

READ MORE: Support sought to ease childcare crisis near Vernon


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