The Village of Cumberland and Comox Valley Schools have reached an agreement that will see a new child care facility located at Cumberland Community School to benefit families in the community.
The agreement will see Comox Valley Schools take ownership of the facility. As a result, the school district will oversee the construction of the project. The Village of Cumberland will manage the selection of the eventual service provider at the facility and have ongoing input into operations.
The goal is to have construction begin on the new facility in the spring of 2022. Once completed, the facility will provide 75 child care spaces for families in Cumberland.
In May 2021, the Village of Cumberland received a $2.95 million grant from the Ministry of Children and Family Development (MCFD) to build and operate a new child care facility. MCFD has agreed to transfer the Childcare BC New Spaces Funding Agreement from the Village of Cumberland to Comox Valley Schools.
“This partnership will ensure the village’s ongoing involvement in the provision of child care through this facility and make sure it aligns with future child care development within the community,” Mayor Leslie Baird said in a news release. “This allows us to focus on seeking further opportunities for additional child care spaces over the long-term in Cumberland, which are desperately needed by families.”
Village of Cumberland staff identified the Cumberland Community School grounds as the ideal site for this facility and engaged in discussions with the school district. However, provincial rules require buildings on school grounds to be owned by the local school district.
“There is a huge need for more child care spaces in Cumberland, and we’ve accepted the offer from the village to build this important facility,” Comox Valley Schools board chair Tonia Frawley said. “Our district will be able to move forward immediately by streamlining responsibilities – ensuring the long-term success of this project for our community.”
As part of a memorandum of understanding between the Village of Cumberland and Comox Valley Schools, the partnership will co-ordinate community consultation efforts. The village will be responsible for the process of selecting a licensed child care operator for the new facility and addressing the design and ongoing operation of the facility. The village will engage with local child care providers to ensure they are actively considered for opportunities from the project.
“Congratulations to the Village of Cumberland and Comox Valley Schools on getting one step closer to making 75 new childcare spaces a reality for young families,” said Josie Osborne, MLA for Mid Island-Pacific Rim. “This level of collaboration between different jurisdictions is exactly what we need to move forward on our shared priorities, and I’m very happy to see so much commitment from everyone to create more safe, affordable, accessible and nurturing spaces for our children.”