The City of Williams Lake will be requesting $25,000 under the UBCM Child Care Plan Funding Program to support the development of a Williams Lake Child Care Plan.
“The big news will be if we actually get that grant because then we’ll be able to do that work, and basically once that childcare plan is done that provides us an opportunity to go after more funding,” said economic development officer Beth Veenkamp.
“You have to have a formal plan in place in order to go after further funding that’s coming out from the provincial government on childcare.”
If successful in the grant application which Veenkamp suspects will be known by March or April, the Williams Lake Child Care Plan would look at areas such as how many child care spaces are needed in Williams Lake, future projections, and the type of care needed.
“There’s the sentiment from the community practitioners that more spaces are needed,” Veenkamp said.
“It also links back to we’ve got labor market challenges as well so it’s kind of a catch 22. If we can’t get parents affordable access to daycare then they can’t get back into the workforce so it’s kind of multi-faceted and connected.”
Veenkamp adds that all of the groups that sit on the Social Planning Council of Williams Lake are adamant that Williams Lake requires more daycare spots.
“Even though the Cariboo Friendship Society is trying to get that daycare done on 1st Avenue we still need more spots and that’s not going to cover the need,” she said.
“We also need people to be able to get access to early childhood education training because we don’t have any local training to get people educated to be childcare workers so that’s a gap that we have in our community as well that we need to address.”