Five local governments will look collectively at child care in the region.
The City of Nanaimo, District of Lantzville, City of Parksville, Town of Qualicum Beach and the Regional District of Nanaimo announced a partnership to study child care needs.
According to a press release from the City of Nanaimo, the Union of B.C. Municipalities has provided a $125,000 grant to assess existing child care spaces and identify how many additional spaces are needed now and over the coming years.
Ian Thorpe, RDN chairman, said in the release that the research will look at daycare needs for infants through to preschool-aged children, including before- and after-school care options.
“For children with working parents, quality daycare can provide great social and learning environments,” Thorpe said.
The release notes that the project’s goal is to create an action plan for each local government as part of a “strategic, co-ordinated approach to increasing access to affordable, quality early learning and child care options” over the short, medium and long term.
“With a continuing shift towards two-income families, and single, working parents, quality and affordable child care options are more important now than ever,” said Nanaimo Mayor Leonard Krog in the release. “This study will help identify new ways to support and develop those options.”
The study will include consultation with school districts and First Nations.
The funding comes from the $3-million community child care planning program, a partnership between the provincial government and UBCM that began last fall.