Prince George children and families will be reap the benefits of provincial funding announced Wednesday. The Province of B.C. is supporting the City of Prince George in the creation of 73 new child care spaces, including 25 group child care spaces for ages 30 months to school age, and 48 school-age spaces.
The spaces will be located at a brand new childcare facility to be called the YMCA Park House Care and Early Learning Centre, which will be constructed downtown across from City Hall and next to the Park House Condominium and above the City parkade development. The facility will be operated by the YMCA.
The funding is the result of the city’s successful $3 million grant application to the Province’s Childcare BC New Spaces Fund. In addition, the City has also received $1 million in funding through the Union of BC Municipalities Community (UBCM) Child Care Space Creation Program for 12 infant/toddler spaces, bringing the total number of licensed spaces to 85.
The success of the city’s grant application was contingent upon the demonstrated need for more childcare spaces identified in the City of Prince George Childcare Needs Assessment, which was presented to council earlier this year. As part of the Assessment, community engagement and government data collected by staff revealed a high-degree of need among residents for increased childcare spaces for all age groups, but particularly for infant, toddler, and school age care. Families also reported experiencing significant difficulty in accessing care according to their specific needs, with downtown spaces being particularly hard to secure.
“On behalf of Prince George City Council, I would like to offer our sincere thanks to the Government of B.C. and UBCM for their investment in child care for our community,” said Mayor Lyn Hall. “The development of new child care spaces, particularly in our downtown core, helps to fulfil a critical need that was clearly demonstrated by the city’s child care needs assessment. This will greatly benefit families in our community and will help to attract families to our downtown neighbourhoods. This investment in child care along with the new condos, student housing, and pool development will greatly improve and enhance our downtown core.”
Construction of the fully accessible development will begin soon, with the Centre opening scheduled for late 2021.
“The YMCA of Northern BC is thrilled that the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund will directly support children, including those with extra needs, and families being able to access high-quality early learning and care in downtown Prince George,” said Amanda Alexander, CEO of the YMCA of Northern BC. “The centre will support children to have the best opportunity for early learning through the YMCA national curriculum, Playing to Learn, in a stimulating, accessible and home-like environment.”
This is just the latest in a string of successful funding announcements benefiting Prince George:
- Last week, the Governments of BC and Canada announced $6.3 million in funding to help repair the ageing walls, roof, and various mechanical systems at the Prince George Aquatic Centre.
- Also last week, the Province announced that up to a dozen new electric vehicle charging stations will be installed in Prince George as a result of a provincial funding.
- In July, the Federal and Provincial Governments announced $10 Million in funding to go towards the construction of Prince George’s new pool, now under construction in downtown Prince George.