Childcare spaces could expand in Harrison Hot Springs

Funding announcement means growth for local preschool

Harrison Hot Springs Preschool and Childcare has received almost $90,000 in provincial funds to help expand the centre.

“I’m so excited,” said Melissa Weed, operator of the facility. The funding isn’t quite in her hands yet. The expansion first must receive approval to increase her license through Fraser Health. “All the details are all set in place, so now we’re just waiting,” she said.

The expansion is exciting because she’ll be able to provide more consistent care to families as their children grow up and get ready for kindergarten. The new portable she’s anticipating will allow her to increase the number of children ages three to five from her current 10 spots, to 20. It will also add another 10 spaces for children up to three years old.

As children grow up “I will have room for them and they won’t be displaced,” she said. Despite her best efforts to place everyone, she is building up a wait list.

“This is really big for Harrison,” she said, as the Village is attempting to draw in younger people.

“Their growth plan is to increase their work force and bring in young families,” she said. “But without having the services available, you can’t attract young families”

She believes the government supported her expansion plan because of her close ties to the elementary school, by location and by way of communication. The centre is located on school property, adjacent to the school. So, as children get ready for kindergarten, they are already very familiar with Harrison elementary school.

“This is the model they want to see,” Weed said.

In May, the province encouraged child-care providers throughout the province to apply for major capital funding to create new licensed child-care spaces for B.C. kids. As a result of this process, 32 child-care providers are receiving a total of $7 million to create new spaces in their communities, for a total of just over 1,000 new spaces.

A press release from the government states that Seabird Island also succeeded in their application. They’ll be receiving $500,000 to create 36 spaces at Seabird Island Early Childhood Development Centre – 16 school-age spaces and 20 preschool spaces.

Seabird Island did not return 14:06:00a phone call in time to confirm what changes are in store at their centre.

“Parents need good quality child care services that they can rely on,” said Chilliwack-Hope MLA Laurie Throness. “Through this funding, families in Agassiz will have more choices and support.”

In Chilliwack, the Montessori Child Growth Society is receiving $20,780 for 64 spaces at a Justice Institute of BC facility – 12 infant/toddler spaces, 16 spaces for children aged three to five years, 18 school-aged spaces and 18 preschool spaces.

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