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Pemberton daycare contract awarded

PSC planning to open daycare centre in fall 2006

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The Pemberton Childcare Society has been awarded the contract to establish a daycare facility in the community. Pemberton council passed a motion to accept the society’s proposal at its May 30 meeting. This brings the PCS one giant step closer to fulfilling its mandate of acquiring a healthy, centrally located, convenient building.

Councillor Mark Blundell, who presented the motion to accept PCS’s proposal, says the society’s solid track record of fundraising, combined with board members' expertise in utilizing community resources were deciding factors for the council.

"I think they have the community spirit, the vision and the resources to put it all together," said Blundell.

PSC chair Stephanie Coughlin, who was in attendance to speak to the proposal, was delighted by the outcome.

"I had no idea council was making their decision last night," said Coughlin. "So that was a complete surprise."

The five year old non-profit society has been operating the Meadows Daycare Centre in conjunction with Sea to Sky Community Services. Although they initially partnered with SSCS to fill a void when a previous for-profit daycare folded, operating its own centre was always an integral part of the PCS’s mandate.

"To the average person, things aren’t going to change at all," said Coughlin of the move to have one society operate the facility.

Coughlin hopes that the two societies can continue to work together, sharing resources and knowledge.

"With all our hearts we hope that the staff working for Sea to Sky will become employees of the Pemberton Childcare Society," said Coughlin.

Currently, approximately 40 children participate in PCS programs. Coughlin expects that the number of child participants and corresponding staff will increase significantly once the programs are housed in a new building.

"[The Community Centre] is a decommissioned building. People don’t want to send their children to that building," said Coughlin. The former high school has survived two floods and is "a sick building" suffering from poor air circulation.

This motion clears the way for the PSC to begin the next phase of development on its proposed 3,000 sq. ft. centre to be built on land adjacent to the Pemberton Library. The new daycare facility will offer expanded programs, including one tailored to the needs of toddlers.

The estimated cost of the daycare centre is $900,000, a third of which already been committed by the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation. With a significant portion of the budget already in place, more granting opportunities are open to the PCS, says Coughlin. Community groups, associations and businesses have already made commitments of in-kind donations for the centre.

"We hope to have the facility open next September," said Coughlin. "We have a lot of work ahead of us."

The call for expressions of interest was opened in April. VOP clerk-administrator Bryan Kirk confirmed that while four expressions of interest were received only three were deemed qualified.

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