From left: Rick Weaver, Anita Eldershaw-Pitman and Area A director Daniel Arbour at the Friendly Port Child Care Centre. Photo supplied

From left: Rick Weaver, Anita Eldershaw-Pitman and Area A director Daniel Arbour at the Friendly Port Child Care Centre. Photo supplied

District funds enable expansion at Union Bay child care facility

A grant from the Comox Valley Regional District will help create eight additional spaces at a Union Bay child care facility.

At Tuesday’s board meeting, CVRD directors approved a grant-in-aid totalling $15,000 — $5,000 each from areas A, B and C — which will fund renovations at the Union Bay Community Hall. The extra space, in turn, will enable the Friendly Port Child Care Centre to increase the number of spaces from 16 to 24.

“It’s so needed,” Friendly Port owner Anita Eldershaw-Pitman said. “We get calls every week. We don’t even advertise for infant toddler space, just because we don’t have an infant toddler program…This grant money is going to make all the difference.”

The Union Bay Community Club and Recreation Association had applied for provincial funding, with a plan to renovate the kitchen, but the money didn’t come through.

Which prompted Area A director Daniel Arbour to suggest applying for grant funding.

“All we’re going to do is renovate the toddler room, so we’ll be adding eight new toddler spaces,” association board member Rick Weaver said. “Thank goodness for our regional district.”

“While child care is primarily a provincial responsibility, this is a good example of local government leveraging our limited resources to solve problems in our communities,” Arbour said.

He notes an “insane demand” for child care in the Comox Valley.

“One in seven parents have access to toddler space,” Weaver said.

The association hopes to have the centre up and running early December.