Daycare just got a big boost in Fort St. James. The Nechako Valley Community Services Society (NVCSS) received more than $126,000 in funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development Capital Spending and a $40,000 donation from Mount Milligan/Thompson Creek Metals.
The funding will be used for a much needed 8-28 space licensed child-care facility in Fort St. James said Lynda Lewis, Program Manager with NVCSS. Lewis said the project has been in the works for close to four years and with the injection of funds the child-care facility is now a reality.
“The daycare has been something that has been in the process for four years or more,” she said. “It’s been a community need and the Nechako Valley certainly recognized that community need especially with the growth that has happened.”
Lewis said one of the big challenges facing the child-care facility is finding and maintaining a licenced early childhood educator (ECE) for the facility, something that is a challenge for most remote area child-care facilities she added.
“That’s a challenge for a lot of daycares, because (early childhood educators) come out with that kind of degree and there are so many opportunities to work elsewhere for huge dollars.”
Rather than spend more time and energy searching for an educator that would be on payroll the society has put out a request for proposals from enterprising ECE’s to get into a growing market in Fort St. James, said Lewis.
“Trying to get them and draw them in is very challenging that’s why we thought we’ll go with a contractor who can run this as their own business,” she said. “We put an RFP out, we want to get an independent operator to run the daycare.”
The 8-28 space Child Care Centre which is designed for infant, toddler, preschool and school age children would be located at 349 Stuart Drive said Lewis and added that the operator will have the option to start at a size which is workable for the contracting ECE.
“It’s something that will be a community service that the community needs,” she said.