Porter Atchison places his painted rock in the rock garden outside city hall to mark May as Childcare Month in which the province announced 45 new childcare spaces on May 19 for Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

Porter Atchison places his painted rock in the rock garden outside city hall to mark May as Childcare Month in which the province announced 45 new childcare spaces on May 19 for Prince Rupert. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

45 new childcare spaces for Prince Rupert

Province announced 226 new spaces for Northwest communities

Prince Rupert is to benefit from 45 new child care spaces which will allow more parents in northwestern B.C. the option to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities, announced the Ministry of Children and Family Development on May 19.

The local spaces are being developed by School District 52 in a music room at the Booth Memorial building for before and after school care for children. The Sunnyside Child Care Centre which is currently operating out of the former high school is licensed for 23 toddler and school-ages spaces. The additional spaces should be available this fall, pending staffing requirements are fulfilled.

The School District #52 Board of Education is renovating an old music room at the Booth Memorial School building to create 45 before- and after-school spaces for school-age children. The school, which is no longer in use and is now home to the Sunnyside Child Care Centre, currently offers 23 licensed child care spaces for toddlers and school-age children. The additional child care spaces will be available this fall.

The province is investing in more than 225 new licensed child care spaces, 167 of which are slated to open by the end of the year.

“We are delivering on more child care spaces here in the North so families can live full and balanced lives,” Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast, said. “As a parent, I understand how access to child care spaces is a game-changer for families.”

A total of 226 spaces will be supported in four other projects additional to the 45 space P.R. project, with 53 spaces in Kitimat, 51 in Kitwanga, 59 in Smithers, and 18 in Terrace. In addition, three projects have also received funding in these communities since the launch of Childcare BC in July 2018.

“As we enter the fourth year of our 10-year Childcare BC plan, thousands of families are already feeling the life-changing impact of having affordable, quality, and inclusive child care,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “As we continue to build toward an inclusive, universal child care system, these new spaces will make it easier for parents, especially mothers, to pursue their own goals, while being part of B.C.’s economic recovery.”

“The Province has funded almost 26,000 new licensed spaces since the launch of Childcare BC – more than 6,000 of which are now open.

An additional 4,370 spaces, funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, take the total number of new child care spaces funded since July 2017 to more than 29,300.

Since July 2018, almost 26,000 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in British Columbia, including 120 in Kitimat, 171 in Smithers, and 136 in Terrace.”

READ MORE: Childcare month is rocking it in Prince Rupert

READ MORE: City wants to lease space in Civic Center to childcare operator

K-J Millar | Journalist 
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