Child care is getting less expensive and easier to find in Castlegar as the Province invests in eight new child care spaces, giving more parents the option to return to work, go back to school or pursue other opportunities.
“It’s important for parents to feel confident that their child is being well cared for in a nurturing, enriching environment,” said Katrine Conroy, Minister of Children and Family Development. “Knowing their child is playing, learning and having fun gives parents peace of mind while they’re away from their kids during the day.”
Through the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, Blueberry Creek Early Learning & Care Centre in Castlegar is creating eight new infant/toddler spaces. The centre overlooks 1.6 hectares (four acres) of green space and gardens where the children will be able to experience the natural world by planting and harvesting fruit and vegetables. It also offers programs for children with extra support needs, as well as Indigenous early learning programs.
"Blueberry Creek Community School Council is grateful to the Province for the funding and opportunity to expand the Early Learning and Care Centre at our Community Hub,” said Rebecca McDonnell, executive director, Blueberry Creek Early Learning & Care Centre. “We are pleased to be able to add these new spaces and to support more children and families in our engaging, nurturing and inclusive environment."
So far 23 new, affordable licensed child care spaces in Castlegar have been funded by the Province since the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund launched in July 2018. They are part of the fastest creation of child care spaces in B.C.’s history, with more than 10,400 funded in the past 15 months.
With the addition of 900 spaces funded through partnerships with the Union of British Columbia Municipalities and Aboriginal Head Start using federal funding, and 4,100 spaces created through the 2017 Budget Update, more than 15,400 spaces have been funded in B.C.
Since launching in February 2018, the Childcare BC plan has helped parents in Castlegar save more than $776,000 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.
- In November 2018, Selkirk College Children’s Centre in Castlegar was selected to deliver low-cost child care as part of the Childcare BC Universal Prototype Sites Program, providing 47 child care spaces:
- 22 spaces for children under 36 months
- 25 for children ages three years to kindergarten
- The Province has made significant investments to improve supports to B.C.’s early care and learning professionals.
- To date, the Province has invested more than $13 million to provide more than 10,000 early childhood educators with a $1-per-hour wage enhancement, with another $1-per-hour lift to come in April 2020. This includes over $30,000 to early childhood educators in the Castlegar region through the wage enhancement.
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 a 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 child care in Castlegar, visit the Trail and Castlegar Childcare Resource and Referral centre: www.trailfair.ca/trail-castlegar-childcare-resource-referral-ccrr/