Daycare bylaw change eyed

Prompted by a request from a daycare operator that the City permit her to hire an employee to provide health support to a child, the City of Prince Rupert is considering making specific changes to its home occupation zoning bylaw to allow for that to happen.

  • Mar. 16, 2011 2:00 p.m.

Prompted by a request from a daycare operator that the City permit her to hire an employee to provide health support to a child, the City of Prince Rupert is considering making specific changes to its home occupation zoning bylaw to allow for that to happen.

“The zoning bylaw is very black and white on this issue. Essentially home occupations do not allow employees other than those who reside in the household,” said City Planner Zeno Krekic.

According to Krekic there are three large daycare centres in Prince Rupert equipped to provide for children with special needs, but on some occasions families will choose to place children in a home based daycare.

It’s an option that is supported by health and licensing professionals, he told City Council during a recent regular meeting.

Presently the regulations for home occupations include that they be small in size, have low impact on residential neighbourhoods and not be in competition with businesses that operate in commercial areas, especially because residential taxes are lower.

The amendment to the bylaw, if passed, would insist the medical support employee be approved by a licensed health professional, be restricted to one full-time employee and would ensure the City is not responsible for improvements to infrastructure such as making a home wheelchair accessible.

In other words, the City would not be obligated to make letdowns on sidewalks outside the home.

“We issue business licenses and what I’m wondering is are those businesses obligated to make themselves accessible if they’re accepting someone into their business and are we responsible for monitoring and making sure that happens? Are we liable?” asked Councillor Anna Ashley.

Krekic said the liability would be the operators.

“As long as we’ve assured that they meet the requirements to operate the business,” he suggested.

Councillor Joy Thorkelson asked if there should be more wording in the bylaw detailing that the City is not responsible for improvements on infrastructure to suit a home-based business.

“It seems to me to be important so why isn’t it mentioned in the bylaw?” she asked.

Krekic explained he’d only included the information because it was a technical issue City Hall often deals with over the counter with clients.

“In the bylaw, I didn’t want to meddle into too much more than the land regulations,” he said.

Council passed the first two readings of the bylaw unanimously and will debate it again during a public hearing slated for March 28.