MLA Katrine Conroy was at the Blueberry daycare in Castlegar announcing new daycare funding. Submitted photo.

MLA Conroy announces new spaces at Castlegar daycare

Conroy announced new support for Blueberry Creek Early Learning and Care Centre on Friday

A Castlegar-area daycare is getting a boost in the number of children it can accept into its program.

Through the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, Blueberry Creek Early Learning and Care Centre in Castlegar is creating eight new infant/toddler spaces.

Kootenay West MLA and Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy made the announcement at the daycare Friday, saying child care is getting less expensive and easier to find because of the provincial investment.

“It’s important for parents to feel confident that their child is being well cared for in a nurturing, enriching environment,” said Conroy. “Knowing their child is playing, learning and having fun gives parents peace of mind while they’re away from their kids during the day.

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, Conroy added.

“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 executive director Rebecca McDonnell. “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.

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, the province says.

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