In response to a plea from local daycare operators, the City of Castlegar is moving forward with plans to increase the number of children allowed at in-home daycare operations.
The city’s current bylaw limits the number of children being tended at one time to five.
Deidre Price and Desiree LePage appeared before council on Jan. 21 to ask the city to increase the number of children allowed at home-based childcare operations to match provisions of provincial childcare licensing regulations.
Those regulations allow seven children in the family childcare category and eight in the in-home multi-age childcare category.
Staff looked at other municipalities and discovered that Trail and Duncan allow up to eight children, Salmon Arm allows seven and Nelson has no limit.
“I’m excited about what this means for Castlegar,” said Price after city council passed the first two readings of the new bylaw on Feb. 4.
“My hope is that it means creating new spaces for families to have access to licensed childcare.”
Price ran a home-based centre for six years before relocating her business to a public space. She and LePage decided to approach council because they wanted to help families in Castlegar have more childcare options.
Price says she fields calls every week from parents looking for childcare space.
“I decided it was time to do something about it,” she said.
According to Price, the smaller limit on the number of children allowed at once makes operating a successful home-based operation more difficult. She hopes more people will consider opening in-home spaces once the bylaw passes.
“The long-term goal is to see more home-based childcare providers open in town and stay open,” she said.
“I hope it starts a discussion about how we can encourage more childcare options,” added Price. “So that parents can have peace of mind knowing their child is cared for in a licensed environment and not struggling to piece childcare together.”
The bylaw now faces a public hearing, followed by third reading and adoption.