The City of Williams Lake is looking to the community for feedback on a new childcare facility.
The City recently applied for $3 million in funding to construct a 72-space facility that would serve children in the 6-12 year age group before and after school.
The childcare facility was one of the 2020 Williams Lake Child Care Assessment and Action Plan recommendations that happened earlier this year to address the need for childcare.
Beth Veenkamp, the economic development officer with the City of Williams Lake, said that the facility would open up more chances for people to work.
“What we are trying to do is create more opportunities for more people to join the labour market in our City,” she said. “A before and after school facility would have hours of operation from 7 a.m. until 8:30 a.m., and we would take the kids to school and then after school until 6:00 p.m.”
Veenkamp said that reason they need the public’s input is that they are unsure where to put the proposed facility.
“We used a hypothetical location to crunch the numbers and see what we could do with $3 million. We are taking it back to community groups to see where we could put a facility such as this,” she said. “We don’t have a lot of options in Williams Lake, but that’s the next step in this process. Thinking really hard about where does it make the best sense to build something like this.”
The proposed budget utilizes the entire fund that is available for a centre with 72 spaces, equating to $2.88 million. This includes furnishings, appliances, and equipment. The analysis also found the operation of the proposed childcare centre to be feasible at near capacity enrollment.
Staff qualifications for this type of facility differ from the infant and toddler spots that require certified Early Childhood Educators. This skill set is in short supply not only in Williams Lake but around the province.
Veenkamp adds that residents can contact her at City Hall to talk more about the project.