Children and staff at the Arrowview Kids Club posed for a group photo with Parksville Qualicum MLA Adam Walker and Minister of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean during a visit on April 20. (Michael Briones photo)

Children and staff at the Arrowview Kids Club posed for a group photo with Parksville Qualicum MLA Adam Walker and Minister of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean during a visit on April 20. (Michael Briones photo)

Parksville Qualicum Beach families benefit from new child care spaces

Minister Dean, MLA Walker visit daycare centres

B.C. Minister of Children and Family Development Mitzi Dean and Parksville Qualicum MLA Adam Walker witnessed first-hand the operations of two daycare centres in the Parksville Qualicum Beach region.

They visited the Qualicum First Nation Child Care Centre and the newly built Arrowview Kids Club on April 20. Both were funded through child careBC’s New Spaces Fund.

The provincial government is supporting eight child care providers to create 321 new licensed child care spaces in Crofton, Nanaimo, Qualicum Beach, Tofino and Ucluelet.

The Qualicum First Nation centre aims to expand the services it provides by creating a new infant and toddler centre. The additional service will add 24 infant-toddler spaces.

“This, along with our application for $10-a-day funding, will see affordable and accessible child care for children up to three years old,” said Pam Moore, manager of the centre. “Together with our child care centre for children three-to-five and our after-school centre, we will be able to provide all child care needs for families in the area.”

Dean stressed on the importance of child care for women who aim to pursue employment or education and also to many families, who have struggled to find affordable, accessible child care. She liked the Arrowview Kids Club set up as it is located within the Arrowview Elementary School property. Since it opened last October, the club now has close to 100 children under its care.

“It’s really great to see child care in such close proximity to a school,” said Dean. “What this centre here is really doing is making sure that it’s as stress-free as possible for parents so making drop off and pick up really easy and making that transition for the kids over to the school very easy as well. We know that child care is vital to the economy.”

READ MORE: More child care spaces coming to Qualicum Beach area

Walker was pleased that more than 320 child care spaces will be created in Central Vancouver Island.

“It’s going to make a huge difference to families in our community,” said Walker.

The Town of Qualicum Beach has also benefited from the ChildCareBC’s New Spaces Fund, launched in 2018. It received close to $2 million in funding to build the affordable daycare Into the Woods Early Learning Studio. Construction is now underway and once it is completed it will create 37 new spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten-age. It will feature outdoor play area, set within the town-owned community park.

Since 2018, the province has invested $2.7 billion in ChildCareBC.

Michael.Briones@pqbnews.com

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