With construction of the new daycare facility in Nakusp almost complete, Arrow Lakes School District 10 is moving to licencing.
“The building exterior is now complete, and it is beautiful,” SD 10 Superintendent Peter Dubinsky told trustees at their meeting May 17. “…We’re really excited we’re at the final stage of construction and finishing.”
The process of getting the $3 million building complete ran into a few delays, mostly due to COVID and weather. Dubinsky said the parking lots are now accessible, and the interior furnishings are almost finished. The grounds surrounding the centre are being attended to and playgrounds for the child care programs are on order.
Now the district has hired a consultant to help secure the licence to operate the facility, which will provide before- and after-school care for students at Nakusp Elementary, as well as daycare for preschoolers.
“As licencing is a process we have to navigate before becoming operational, there is some parallel work alongside of that – building up a business plan, studying staffing requirements, and navigating the need for before- and after-school care,” he said. “We also have to engage the community about need for infant-toddler daycare. And match that need with staffing.”
He said finding qualified early childhood educators is a bit difficult, as it is across the province. So they want to ensure they match staffing with the demand they actually have for the service.
“We want to make sure as we go through this process to consult with our community about their needs, that we actually have the staff to open the number of spaces based on need – we don’t want to get ahead of ourselves and we don’t want to commit to something we can’t provide.”
The superintendent noted the Ministry of Education will be announcing new supports for school districts to expand into their new role as daycare providers this fall.
He said the needs consultation will continue for the next few months, and he’s “optimistic” the daycare facility will be opening its doors in September.
John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice