Sun Peaks Mountain Resort Municipality (SPMRM) is applying for Childcare BC New Spaces Funding to help fund much needed, new daycare facilities in the community.
Shane Bourke, SPMRM’s chief administrative officer, said they received feedback in an Official Community Plan stakeholder survey from earlier this year that childcare options need to be more available.
“That started it,” Bourke said. “Also just anecdotally, talking to members of the community, staff and business owners about just how [much] daycare would help so many families in the community.”
The Childcare BC New Spaces Fund launched on Sept. 13, 2021, to provide funding for creating new childcare and helping families access inclusive care across the province. The deadline to apply is Nov. 16, and the results are expected in March 2022.
“The opportunity came forward, so we decided to jump on it,” said Bourke. “If it’s successful, it’s a very generous grant in being able to fund $40,000 per space, so that’s kind of what drove us to look at this opportunity.”
The municipality is drafting their application to accommodate 40 to 50 students, which would amount to a grant funded cost of $1.6 million to $2 million. The only costs SPMRM has to pay during this initial step is around $10,000 for architecture and engineering.
The application requires some conceptual design and layout, as well as the ability to begin construction within six months of being successful in receiving funds. Bourke said this is possible because the municipality already has land they plan to use.
“Having some land already set aside for community use—it wasn’t necessarily for daycare—but community use over on the east side got us a long way,” said Bourke. “We don’t have to go out and purchase a lot of land for this.”
Council has also been discussing the use of portables if they need to begin building by the fall.
“Ideally [the daycare] would be attached to a new school, but we don’t have a timeline on that,” Bourke said. “This gives us some ability to get it in the ground quickly, if we were successful, and some flexibility down the road.”
Another aspect to the application is community engagement. In October, SPMRM put out a community survey to get feedback on how many people within the community could use childcare and the ages that are of highest demand.
Bourke said the survey gave the municipality valuable feedback and confirmed they are on the right track with the application.