Trustees with School District #10 (Arrow Lakes) were to decide this week on whether to go ahead with plans to build a daycare at Nakusp Elementary School.
The provincial government announced last Friday the 96-space Nakusp daycare will be funded under the New Spaces Fund. It’s one of 35 communities to be approved under the program.
“We are excited to hear the news about funding approval from MCFD New Spaces and CBT for this much-needed childcare facility in Nakusp,” said SD #10 Superintendent Terry Taylor. “The needs assessment completed by an experienced external consultant identifies a strong need for infant and toddler childcare, for 3-5-year-olds, and also before-and-after-school care.”
But just because the funding is available doesn’t mean the project is going ahead.
In August, board trustees backed off pre-approving the project, which includes tearing down two aging portables and building an addition onto Nakusp Elementary. The estimated $3.15 million for the daycare comes from the provincial program and the Columbia Basin Trust.
Taylor said the board will decide at its September 22 meeting whether to accept the funding and proceed with the plan.
“The board and district staff will review all the information and answer any outstanding questions trustees may have both on Tuesday evening and in committee, and then hold a public special regular meeting where a decision will be made,” says Taylor.
The meeting will be a big one for Steve Gascon, who won a byelection for the vacant trustee position on the board just two weeks ago.
At press time it wasn’t certain the board will approve the project. During its August meeting, two trustees raised several concerns about the project, including the impact of tearing down portables to make room for an addition to the school, the uncertainty about the future because of the pandemic, and how a less-than-full daycare would possibly impact the district’s financial resources.
Their concerns were enough to prompt the board to postpone pre-approving the project, until they knew they were getting the money.
It’s not the only decision the board has to make around the issue. At the August meeting trustees also voted to defer a decision to discuss whether the board should become a licenced child care provider, or contract out the service to a third-party operator.
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John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice