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Lots of work behind the scenes on Little Miners Day Care

Whenever a big funding announcement affects a town, it’s big news. Such is the case with last month’s announcement that Esterhazy will be allocated 60 new child care spaces as part of a new initiative called Little Miners Community Daycare.

To get to the point of a big announcement and board formation, many hours of behind the scenes work was invested, starting with realizing there is a need.

“Businesses and people have said that they are having trouble finding daycares locally, they have been people have been driving out of town and then driving back into town to come to work and then driving out of town to pick up their kids,” explained Crystal Szabo, Administrative Assistant with the Town of Esterhazy. “People have said that they haven’t been able to go back to work off of their maternity leaves because of daycare.”

The want for child care spaces was certainly a detriment to many residents and the current daycare in Esterhazy simply did not have the physical space to expand to meet the growing needs of the community. After meeting with various entities, the Economic Development Committee distributed a public survey back in May to pinpoint those needs required.

“There was definitely a need,” Szabo added. “People were missing out on things. People weren’t able to go back to work. They needed not just infant care, but they needed childcare and before and after school programs.”

Two public forums were also held to find out what the community could do, which attracted those who were most keen on affecting change.

“People who came to that meeting were the people who were invested in it,” Szabo said. While the Town is not in the business of operating childcare spaces, they could gather the like-minded community members that had the ability to form a board, and that was the direct result of the public meetings.

Currently, the Little Miners Community Daycare is meeting to organize the next steps, which include submitting concept plans and a budget to the provincial government before the end of January.

“I think that it’s going to be huge for the community,” Szabo said. “It’s going to impact so many people positively.”

Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The World-Spectator