The community school in Cumberland. Image, Google image

The community school in Cumberland. Image, Google image

Council takes next steps on Cumberland child care

Village will go into partnership with school district to provide new spaces

For a new child care facility in Cumberland, the village is getting close to completing its next steps.

At the council meeting on Sept. 7, staff updated council members on efforts to set up a formal partnership with School District 71 and complete design and planning work.

As far as the agreement goes, Cumberland’s economic development officer Kaelin Chambers told council they have identified Ian Kalina as a project lead. He is a former and long-term director for the Boys and Girls Club of Vancouver Island, with experience in creating and operating child care spaces on the island. His role will be to oversee and support the licensing and operation requirements for the project.

On the matter of planning and design, Chambers told council the village will be working closely with the school district to choose an architect for the project. They had identified a local architect, which will help get the project to the point where it can go to tender.

“Its sounds like we have a location,” Coun. Vickey Brown said during the discussion.

She wondered about the disk golf location at the former elementary school site and wanted to make sure the green space was protected. She suggested considering an alternate location or ensuring no trees would be removed for the project.

“I think there’s lots of space to work around those trees,” she said.

Chambers responded that while they have been working with the school district on a site, the process is still not complete.

“We still have some flexibility,” he said.

Coun. Jesse Ketler noted she had heard the current community school is well over capacity, and the district might need to consider expanding the school itself, adding she hoped the village will be part of any discussions.

Chief administrative officer Clayton Postings added that the discussion with the school district is around getting the licence and that staff should be providing council with more reports soon.

There was some concern about overloading staff with the project, but Postings responded staff were confident about handling the work.

RELATED STORY: Cumberland plans ahead for child care spaces

The project gained momentum last September when council directed staff to work on options for child care in the community, including a partnership with the school district, with a potential facility on school grounds.

In November 2020, staff applied to the BC Childcare New Spaces fund for a grant of more than $2.9 million to fund 85 new spaces for children. In May, the village was notified the project will receive the full amount of the application, and in June, staff updated council on the next steps, including preliminary planning for site development, design and construction as well as considering project leads.

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