Even with construction material and insurance delays, the Edmonton Avenue Child Care Facility is set to still hit its opening day mark for fall of 2022 in Penticton.
Wall construction on the project in Kiwanis Park was well underway on Wednesday, as local politicians and community members gathered to hear an update on the progress.
The 116-space facility is a partnership between the City of Penticton, Province of British Columbia and OneSky Community Resources, with funding from the Union of BC Municipalities.
The new childcare building is 9,000 square feet, all on one level with six childcare rooms, according to Chris Allen with Landform Architecture.
The building to be designed energy-efficient and net-zero ready, constructed with maximum energy efficiency materials and practices, incorporating solar oriented windows throughout the building to allow for natural light into the learning areas.
“It's got wiring in place so that solar panels can be added on the south facing roofs in the near future. And with the solar panels in place, the building would then be net zero,” Allen said.
City social development specialist Adam Goodwin said that construction is anticipated to finish in late August. Then the building will be up for licensing approval with Interior Health, and will open in the fall.
The Penticton Child Care Action Plan, established in 2021, identified that the city will require at least 722 net new spaces over the next ten years to meet demand.
The Edmonton Avenue centre will hold a mix of infant spaces, toddler spaces, and before and after school care.
“To ensure parents have as much support as they can with their kids and families,” Goodwin explained.
“One of the reasons the city wanted to be a partner on this project was within gathering feedback from the business community, surveys and from speaking with families, we heard about the local childcare crisis, and businesses were sharing with us that was impacting their hiring and ability to retain families in our area.”
Parents in the city have long faced barriers to finding spots for their children, leading one to start what she called "The Waitlisted Project" in 2019, which made its way via local MP Richard Cannings to the House of Commons floor.
Another project has since taken her focus, building the I Care About Child Care to raise awareness on why she feels public child care is necessary, including why decent pay and working conditions for every early childhood educator is needed.
Recently, the only childcare provider in Naramata held a fundraiser to help fund benefits and sick leave for their workers, hoping to attract more employees.
Families looking to include their child on the Edmonton Avenue facility waitlist should contact OneSky Community Resources at 250-492-5814.