A unique collaboration of organizations has come up with a plan to bring more childcare spaces to the Castlegar to Nelson corridor.
Back in 2018, the Regional District of Central Kootenay commissioned the Columbia Basin Rural Development Institute to look at the feasibility of using community halls in Area I as childcare spaces.
One of the conclusions of that report was that the Tarrys Community Hall could be a good location for a future daycare site.
After a year of conversations, co-operation and planning, the Tarrys Community Hall Society and board of the Blueberry Creek Community School have signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a child care centre at the hall.
“It was a really great process,” said BCCS executive director Rebecca McDonnell. “It was really good to have two local, community based non-profits work together.”
The organizations have now applied to the Ministry of Children and Family Development and the Columbia Basin Trust for the money needed to fund some major capital improvements that will be necessary to get the centre up and running.
Plans for the centre call for eight spaces for infants and children up to five years old and 12 spaces for after-school care. The centre will hire three full-time staff members.
According to census reports, Area I includes 130 children aged newborn to four years, and 135 children aged five to nine. But childcare services in Area I would likely attract residents from the surrounding areas who commute through the area for work, which is a potential pool of 3,580 children.
BCCS already operates a number of programs out of their main location including child care, after school care and preschool. They also offer activities for children, teens and seniors and have rental space available for groups or events at the school.
BCCS also operates two satellite after school care programs, one at the old Blueberry fire hall and the other at Robson Community School. In total, the organization has 92 licensed childcare spaces.