Lake Country council decided to apply for a $100,000 Child Care Planning and Needs Assessment Grant with Kelowna, West Kelowna and Peachland, during Tuesday night’s regular council meeting.
”This funding is available for local governments to engage in child care planning activities in order to develop a community child care space creation action plan. Funded projects will collect information regarding the child care needs of the community; create an inventory of existing child care spaces; identify space creation targets over the next 10 years; and identify actions that can be taken to meet those space creation needs,” according to a report which was presented to council.
Staff members from local governments will collaborate on the project, with the budget from the grant allocated towards consulting and public engagement costs. There is no matching component to the grant and therefore any costs to the district will be in‐kind through staff time.”
Holly Flinkman, manager of HR and health sustainability, who presented the report, knows the challenges of finding childcare in the district all too well.
“From the work that we’re doing it’s great to see communities pushing forward with this you can clearly our needs, but from my personal standpoint as a mother who has a child in the childcare system I can see and have a lot of contacts and friends… I see in Lake Country there is that need for a childcare assessment and childcare needs.
I think in order to bring new childcare facilities or new businesses in the area that would provide childcare, I think that first step to happen, that there is proven statistics on what the needs are,” Flinkman said.
Her daughter is currently four, but she had to go to Vernon in order to find childcare for her daughter’s infant year.
The report outlines a need for a childcare assessment as the district continues to grow.
Recently, an announcement was made on Facebook by Little Owl Academy owner Amanda Worms, who aims to have a new childcare centre open in the district this March. She currently has two centres in operation in Kelowna and said the new centre in Lake Country will hopefully have 25 spaces for before and after school care and 57 spaces for infant/toddlers to school aged.
With the recent closure of a daycare in Lake Country, Worms said in a previous interview with The Calendar there is a huge need for daycare in the district.