A Union of B.C. Municipalities grant will enable the Town of Ladysmith and boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island to partner on creating additional, affordable childcare space. Photo contributed

A Union of B.C. Municipalities grant will enable the Town of Ladysmith and boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island to partner on creating additional, affordable childcare space. Photo contributed

Boys and Girls Club starts expansion

This coming fall there will be additional space for affordable childcare for at least 12 children in the infant-toddler age range.

This advance, for families, is due to a partnership between the Town of Ladysmith and the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island and a grant of $875,000 from the Union of B.C. Municipalities.

The grant will cover building renovations to the existing building, adding over 1,000 sq. ft. of childcare space and making improvements to the outdoor playground allowing for more accesibity.

The playground will be open to the public during non-operating hours of the centre.

The announcement and ground breaking ceremony took place on Thursday, July 20 at the existing facility on High Street. The building was originally built in 1963 as the town’s medical health unit.

Once the expansion is completed the town will upgrade the exterior work to maintain a uniform appearance. This work is in the town’s works budget for 2022.

“The expansion will allow us to offer an additional 12 spaces for infant-toddler aged children, so birth to age 3. We currently have 24 spaces for ages birth to school age so now that will be a total of 36,” said Karen Love, executive director of the Boys and Girls Clubs of Central Vancouver Island. “We will be allocating spaces to families that are on our wait list in due course. We also have 44 spaces for before and after school so ages 6-12, this number will not be increased. This is a partnership with the town to increase the spaces at our current location which was also a partnership with the town of Ladysmith. We know there is a need for both affordable and quality childcare and we offer that in our program and we have an amazing staff team there.”

As part of the Cowichan Region Child Care Plan, the improvements are a positive position in implementing the plan which the Town of Ladysmith adopted in 2020.

Early Childhood Educator, Heidi Hoffman, said, “At present we have 11 workers in the daycare and four in the out of school program.

With the expansion we will be hiring more staff to work with the increase in children.”

At present the facility has 12 children in the infant toddlers program and 20 in the three to five and thirty seven children in the five to twelve program.

Attending the ceremony were members of Ladysmith council Tricia McKay, Duck Paterson, Marsh Stevens and Mayor Aaron Stone.

“This important expansion goes a long way to not only adding much needed additional childcare spaces in Ladysmith, but also improving the quality of care, enjoyment and learning opportunities for all of the children and families who rely on the BGC Central Vancouver Island each day,” said Mayor Stone. “By expanding and improving the indoor space, as well as the outdoor play area, active little ones in our community will get a chance for a better learning and growing experience during key early years of development.”

“Children are our future and our vision here at BGC Central Vancouver Island is that all children and youth discover and achieve their dreams and grow up to be healthy, successful, and active participants in society. We are excited to be once again collaborating with the Town of Ladysmith to increase much needed childcare spaces at our Ladysmith location,” said Love. “We are fortunate to have qualified, caring, and experienced staff who work every day to ensure our littles have the best start in life and build relationships with the families we are fortunate enough to serve. It truly does take a village.”

As part of the expansion, the town has been able to make sure several trees, located on the grounds, are kept and these will provide shade protection for the playground and the building. MKM Projects Ltd. is the project manager and it’s anticipated the completion date will be fall of 2022.

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