Daycare dilemma

Nechako Valley Community Services Society still looking for a location to create a childcare facility in the community.

Nechako Valley Community Services Society (NVCSS) and Fireweed Collective Society are in discussions over the future of the old women’s shelter in the Sitka Building.

NVCSS Executive Director Tyrell Arnold gave a short presentation at a council meeting at the end of last year on where the group is at with plans for a daycare facility in the community.

It was a little over a year ago NVCSS found out the board for the Sikh temple had backed out of a deal for NVCSS to purchase the building to renovate the building into a daycare and office facility for NVCSS.

Reasons for the deal being turned down were never given, however, Arnold told Mayor Rob MacDougall and council NVCSS continues to look at possible ways to create a daycare in Fort St. James.

“We are still hopeful,” he said. “It’s been a long process.”

The group is currently looking at the possibility of locating a daycare in the Sitka Building on Stuart Drive. NVCSS owns the building and operates offices in it and rents offices to Fireweed Collective Society and a facility in the back which used to house the Fireweed Safehaven women’s shelter.

Fireweed has since moved their women’s shelter to a home on Second Avenue, which the society purchased in order to expand their space and create certainty for the group by owning the property.

The group still rents the now vacant space where the shelter used to be, however.

Fireweed’s Brandi Hanterman said she could not yet discuss publicly what the group is planning to do with the space or if they are considering turning it back over to NVCSS.

The space was renovated significantly to become a safe house by Fireweed.

While Arnold said NVCSS has gone so far as to look at whether the space would fit the requirements for a licensed facility in terms of square footage to make it viable and they have asked for some quotes from contractors in order to look at applying for funding to complete renovations for a daycare, it is unclear whether the group will be able to reach an agreement to take over the space from Fireweed.

“It’s too early to tell which direction it’s going to go,” he said.

While the NVCSS and Fireweed boards are working on coming to an agreement on what to do with the space, Arnold said NVCSS continues to look for some sort of appropriate location in the community for a licensed daycare facility.

“It’s something we’re really wanting to have in the community,” he said.