Minister of state for child care Katrina Chen announces a $900,000 grant for expansions to the Osoyoos Childcare Centre. With her are, from left, centre board member and staff Sonia Rezka, Minister of children and family development Katrine Conroy and Osoyoos Childcare Centre manager Karen Greig. (Vanessa Broadbent / Osoyoos Times)
By Vanessa Broadbent
A $900,000 provincial grant will allow the Osoyoos Childcare Centre add 18 new licensed childcare spaces.
Minister of children and family development Katrine Conroy and minister for state for childcare Katrina Chen visited the centre on Tuesday morning to announce the funding.
The grant will cover an expansion to the centre – the first since it opened over 20 years ago. The increased space will allow for an additional eight infant and toddler spaces, and 10 more spaces for children ages three to five.
The additional spaces are an increase of over 40 per cent, bringing the centre’s total spaces to 61.
Osoyoos Childcare Centre manager Karen Greig said the added spaces will allow for more local families to work in the community.
“When I get a phone call of a parent looking for childcare space and I have to tell them, ‘sorry, we have a waitlist,’ it’s devastating and it’s heart breaking,” she said. “So to have new spaces coming forward is exiting.”
• Read more: Provincial government tours Osoyoos
The provincial government has also announced that over 70 local governments in B.C. are receiving up to $25,000 to create long-term childcare plans.
“We keep hearing from parents who need childcare, we keep hearing from parents who are struggling,” Conroy said.
“People have to work two jobs nowadays and in order to work with kids they need childcare and it’s no different in Osoyoos.”
Chen said the province plans to invest more dollars into childcare in the future.
“This is the first time that the provincial government is looking at this childcare crisis, but this is only the beginning and definitely not the end,” she said.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, to be able to support the staff, the families and the children.”
The Osoyoos Childcare Centre’s expansion is expected to be completed in the next two years.
Minister of state for child care Katrina Chen plays with a child at the Osoyoos Childcare Centre on Tuesday afternoon. The minister was at the centre to announce a $900,000 provincial grant that will allow for an expansion, creating 18 new childcare spaces in Osoyoos. (Vanessa Broadbent / Osoyoos Times)