Renos underway at Kaslo community daycare

The sounds of hammers and saws is mingling with the laughter of children at the Periwinkle Children’s Centre in Kaslo these days.

After years of fundraising, work began late this summer on renovations to the Village-owned building the non-profit community daycare occupies.

“It’s been a long wait. We’re so happy it’s underway,” says Heike Reeg-Smith, the daycare’s lead early childhood educator and manager.

Periwinkle has received funding from several sources – from the provincial New Spaces fund (nearly $180,000), the Columbia Basin Trust and federal accessibility grants. The total amount collected is over $312,000.

This has allowed the daycare organization to install a new bathroom, cupboards and closets for storage, radon detection and mitigation equipment, a wheelchair ramp and automatic doors, and a new roof for the aging facility. Some money will also go to staff training.

It’s a lot of work happening at once, but it hasn’t had a direct impact on the daycare’s ability to operate, she says.

“We have a wonderful small crew who are extremely accommodating to working while also operating the childcare centre,” she says. “That has been a blessing.”

With the pandemic and resulting labour and materials shortages, just getting the materials and contractors to work on the project has been a challenge. Reeg-Smith says that’s made them decide not to push hard on a deadline for completion – which is now slated for nearly a year from now.

“To give yourself an unrealistic deadline just creates unnecessary stress, so at this point the goal is to open up the new spaces in September 2023,” she told the Valley Voice. “It may not take that long, but to take off the unnecessary stress, that is what we have as a deadline.”

Periwinkle has room for 18 children, and the New Spaces grant will allow them to add eight more seats for children two-and-a-half to five years of age.

John Boivin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice