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Improving access to quality, affordable child care in Castlegar

The Province is making affordable, quality child care more accessible for families in Castlegar by investing in 30 new spaces.  

“Partnering with local government lets us create more new licensed child care spaces that will help strengthen the community for years to come,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “This is about making a long-term investment in the area and the young families that call Castlegar home.”

Through the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, the Regional District of Central Kootenay (RDCK) is creating 30 new spaces: 10 spaces for children aged three to five, and 20 school-age spaces. The RDCK is partnering with the Kootenay Family Place Society for Children and Youth, which has been operating child care centres in the area for over 45 years. The district expects the new centre to open in September 2021.

“What an amazing time for the complex! Most new parents will tell you that available child care is a challenge in the Kootenays. I am one of those parents,” said Bergen Price, chair, Castlegar and District Recreation Commission. “As we continue to grow as a community, assets like these are essential. Thank you to the recreation commissioners, RDCK staff and Kootenay Family Place for making this happen.”

The Circle of Indigenous Nations Society will provide Indigenous programming for the centre. It also offers various supports like the Aboriginal Supported Child Development Program, which helps Indigenous families who have children with extra support needs to participate in the centre’s programming. Children at the centre will be involved in their community by helping out in the community garden, taking part in the Adopt a Street Litter Program and through regular visits to the Castle View Seniors Centre.

“We are excited to celebrate our innovative partnership with the Regional District of Central Kootenay and bringing much-needed access to child care to one of the most central, convenient and highly utilized facilities in the community,” said Jim Fisher, executive director, Kootenay Family Place. “This project will enhance early learning in our community and provide much-needed additional and flexible space for recreation programs and events in Castlegar.”

In addition to child care, Kootenay Family Place will offer various wraparound services through partnerships with other affiliated programs. Kootenay Family Place also operates the local Neighbourhood House facility, which offers family support services, including weekly English-as-a-second language drop-in classes to support families new to the country. The new child care centre will also host early childhood education students from Selkirk College for the practicum portion of their program.

This latest investment means that 53 new licensed child care spaces have been funded in Castlegar since July 2018. These new spaces are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history, with more than 13,000 funded since July 2018.

An additional 4,100 spaces have been funded through the 2017 Budget Update and the Early Learning and Child Care agreement with the Government of Canada, bringing the total to more than 17,000 spaces since July 2017.

Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents in Castlegar save more than $850,000 through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.

Investing in child care and early childhood education is a shared priority between government and the BC Green Party caucus, and is part of the Confidence and Supply Agreement.

Quick Facts:

  • Selkirk College Children’s Centre in Castlegar is one of more than 50 Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites, providing 47 spaces for no more than $10 a day.
  • To date, the Province has invested more than $19 million to provide more than 11,500 early childhood educators with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, with another $1-per-hour lift to come in April 2020. This includes more than $30,000 for early childhood educators in Castlegar

Learn More:

For more about Childcare BC, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare

To learn more about the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and to apply, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcare/newspacesfund

To find child care in your community, view the online child care map: http://maps.gov.bc.ca/ess/hm/ccf/

Child care factsheet: https://news.gov.bc.ca/18430

For more information on the Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites, visit: www.gov.bc.ca/childcareprototypesites

For more information on child care in Castlegar, visit: http://www.trailfair.ca/trail-castlegar-childcare-resource-referral-ccrr/