By Cindy Filipenko
Fifty new daycare seats will be ready for Pemberton tots, toddlers and preschoolers this September. The long awaited Pemberton Childcare Society facility will break ground early next week.
The 5,000 square-foot facility will be housed on the same property as the new community centre, but will be its own freestanding facility. As such, it is leasing the property from the Village of Pemberton. However, current legislation requires that a long-term leaser obtain a subdivision if the term of that lease is to exceed three-years.
Asked Tuesday if it was a bureaucratic Catch-22 that had pushed the new daycare a year behind schedule, Mayor Jordan Sturdy said he didn’t see it that way.
“It’s not a Catch-22 because we’re all committed to the daycare moving ahead.”
Later that afternoon, council moved to allow the daycare its building permit provided that other considerations were met, including the Ministry of Transportation’s requirement of a traffic study of the intersection at Portage Road and Cottonwoord Street.
PCS president Stephanie Coughlin said she was “totally excited.”
“The preload is off the site and we’re getting ready to build the foundation,” confirmed Coughlin, who expects the official groundbreaking will happen towards the end of next week.
However, she points out the project will officially start this Monday, under the guidance of construction manager Dale Beatty.
“We are so happy that Dale’s on board,” said Coughlin.
Having been involved in the process of establishing the new facility for the past three years she is excited about what the centre will mean for a community that is averaging 80 births a year. The new building will initially host programs for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
“We’ll have programs for (children) 11 months to five years,” said Coughlin. “People are already taking an interest in what’s happening.”
She suggests that interested parents look at the updated Pemberton Childcare Society’s webpage for further information.
The new daycare has raised issues for parents currently using the Sea to Sky Community Services daycare centre, located in the community centre. Some are wondering about the fate of the existing daycare once the new facility is built.
Tami Overbeck, manager of childcare services for Sea to Sky Community Services said that her organization has no plans to close its Pemberton facility.
“We’ll obviously continue to evaluate things as they go along, but we have no intention to close down our Pemberton daycare,” she said.
Overbeck believes there are enough kids to fill daycare seats and the potential for choice is great for parents.
Overbeck points out Sea to Sky Community Services’ daycare will be implementing HighScope curriculum for all its daycare programs this fall.
“It’s more of an educational, rather than play-based approach to daycare,” she explained.
HighScope has been in use in early childhood education for more than 30 years. Locally, daycares in both Squamish and Whistler employ the program.