City celebrates hitting target of creating 1,000 new childcare spaces

The City of Vancouver Tuesday celebrated surpassing its target of creating 1,000 new childcare spaces since 2015.

“We’ve taken big steps to make sure that more families have access to high-quality, affordable childcare,” said Mayor Gregor Robertson.

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The goal was part of the 2015-2018 capital plan and with the approval of a childcare centre adjacent to the new Eric Hamber secondary school announced last week, the total number of spaces created in the city comes in at 1,064, Robertson said.

The city’s partnership with the Vancouver School Board has led to the creation of 345 of those spaces in five schools undergoing seismic replacement, like Eric Hamber.

“With up to 50 new schools needing seismic upgrades or replacement over the next 15 years, the ongoing partnership between the City and the VSB will provide opportunities to integrate more full-time childcare facilities in school,” a City of Vancouver press release reads.

Robertson said that 374 of the 1,064 spaces are already open, with the majority of the rest expected to be open by 2021.

“B.C. parents are struggling to find quality, licenced child care for their kids, and big projects like this one will make such a difference to Vancouver families,” said Katrina Chen, minister of state for childcare. “Government is making record investments to improve the childcare system in B.C., and we’re happy to have partners like the City of Vancouver working with us to strengthen supports for childcare providers, build new childcare spaces, and help save parents money.”

Robertson said the city’s investment in childcare has increased significantly since 2008.

“Our investment of $30 million in the last capital plan was 10 times the amount set aside in 2008,” he said.

“Making sure that families have access to affordable childcare is a key part of building a healthy, inclusive city and helps set our kids up for success now and down the road.”

The city is currently in the process of drafting the 2019-2022 capital plan — which includes renewing the 1,000 childcare space target with an investment of $116 million over four years. Council will consider the plan next month before it goes to voters in October.

@JessicaEKerr

jkerr@vancourier.com

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