The upper floor of the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre is where Prince Rupert City Council is applying for provincial funding to renovate, and then lease to a childcare operator to increase spaces in the city. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

The upper floor of the Jim Ciccone Civic Centre is where Prince Rupert City Council is applying for provincial funding to renovate, and then lease to a childcare operator to increase spaces in the city. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

City wants to lease space in Civic Center to childcare operator

“It’s really time to get moving on childcare in this community,” - Lee Brain, mayor of Prince Rupert

A new child care facility is being proposed by the City of Prince Rupert for the upper floor of the Jim Ciccone Civic Center, Rosa Miller, City Administrator said in a report to Council on Oct. 5. The City wants to hear expressions of interest from child care providers to lease the space.

“Due to the recent Childcare Assessment and Action plan, the city has identified a deficit in available child care spaces in our community,” she said.

Miller told Council that among several opportunities suggested in the report, it was recommended the city take advantage of the available BC Childcare Spaces funding. This endeavour will support the renovation and allocation of a portion of the recreation complex to accommodate additional child care spaces, she said.

Council passed the resolution to endorse the application for a project grant under the provincial fund. This will support a renovation that would dedicate space to lease to a child care operator. This also included Council agreeing to financially cover any overages that may be above and beyond the project funding.

“With that, just note that the project is 100 per cent funded so any overages would be minimal at most,” Miller presented as a caveat.

READ MORE: $3.4 million childcare centre to be built in Lax Kw’alaams

Lee Brain, the mayor said childcare is 100 per cent needed in this community as it was just one of the challenges heard in the Official Community Plan.

“We’ve had folks that have tried to have new workers move here, but they can’t find child care. People are not taking jobs because of child care. For us to support this in any way we can is definitely beneficial to us,” Brain said.

“Hopefully we can find other partners that can work with us, but it is really time to get moving on child care in this community,” Brain said. “We will hold the funds and hopefully we can get an expression of interest.”

Councilor Barry Cunnigham said he noted two other municipalities who recently received child care funding for projects in the region under the fund and questioned why Prince Rupert did not, despite the City having identified the need for childcare. The Mayor replied that he did not know why what that was.

However, MLA incumbent Jennifer Rice does know and said a recent article run in The Northern View highlighted child care investments in the North Coast region and the benefits they will bring, but she said there is an important point to emphasize about the funding.

“The funding being discussed is application-based, and that no applications for this round of funding were received from any proponents in Prince Rupert, ” Rice said.

The Request for Expressions of Interest was posted on BC Bids and shared with local providers.

READ MORE: Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

K-J Millar | Journalist
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e request before council this evening is that Mayor and Council pass a resolution to support staff applications for a grant funding through the BC childcare funding to renovate and dedicate space upstairs at the recreation complex to lease to a child care operator, and the city of Prince Rupert commits to funding cost overruns that may be above and beyond the project funding. With that just note that the project is 100% funded so any overages would be minimal at most. – City administrator

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