Childcare expansion: Willows School field would be divided

Gym would become shared space for school programs and childcare operations

Parents, neighbours and community members were given their first opportunity to see what the proposed childcare facilities at Willows School will look like.

The project, as proposed now, is pegged to cost $818,750.

It would see two new portables built on the Willows school field – the side currently designated for younger students – and a portion of that field would fenced off for the daycare. As proposed, eight spaces would be made available for children under 3. Twenty group childcare spaces would open for under school age children and 50 after-school spaces. An additional 25 before and after school spots would open up in the gym. Part of the funding would go towards installing dividers in the gym so that the school could still host its’ own programming.

RELATED: Oak Bay parents expect to hear details on childcare spaces

Not all of those services will be offered concurrently. The initial proposed childcare hours are from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Parents in attendance noted those hours could be hard to work into schedules for families with two full-time earners.

Although built on school property, the daycare would not be managed by SD61. A licensee would be chosen to run the day-to-day daycare operations. The licensee would be responsible for maintenance and upkeep, however they would have the option to bring in SD61 staff to conduct any repairs.

Marni Vistisen-Harwood, SD 61 Facilities Project Manager, gave the brief presentation Jan. 24 and fielded most of the questions. Director of Facilities Chuck Morris was also in attendance taking notes and responding to any queries which Vistisen-Harwood was unsure of. They assured the community that this is just an initial proposal, and is not set in stone.

RELATED: 439 new licensed child care spaces for Greater Victoria

Multiple community members in attendance raised concerns over the amount of space the proposed daycare would take up at Willows. There were further concerns about the nature of the buildings being added. Questions were raised about why the district would not build a larger permanent structure, perhaps with multiple stories to accommodate more children while taking up less space. Vistien-Harwood noted that the portables are designed to last 50 years.

Other areas of concern were traffic, parking, and the feasibility of dividing the gym after school. Although everyone in attendance agreed more childcare spaces are needed, some did question whether Willows school is the best spot.

SD61 staff said they would note the concerns, and potentially make adjustments. Community members requested that a summarizing of what staff learned be provided to the PAC, rather than just any changes they decide to make. They also requested an email address be made available for parents who couldn’t attend the meeting to send concerns.



jesse.laufer@oakbaynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Province asks health-care staff to be ‘vigilant’ in screening for possible coronavirus cases

This comes after U.S. health officials confirmed a case of the virus in Washington State

Homes fit for royals for sale in North Saanich

Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have returned to Greater Victoria

Gold Rush star dons Lucky Lager shirt in latest episode

Brennan Ruault, originally from Invermere, joined the show in the sixth season

VIDEO: Dashcam records near-miss by bad driver near Sooke

Driver crossed four lanes of traffic and back over again, barely missing three other vehicles

VIDEO: Protesters block entrance to Victoria government building to support Wet’suwet’en First Nation

Activists want Wet’suwet’en Hereditary Chiefs demands to be upheld, observed and respected

Boy, 13, arrested after alleged assault involving girl at B.C. middle school

Boy alleged to have used ‘inappropriate levels of force’ to injure the girl

B.C. player becomes only second Canadian to enter Hall of Fame of Baseball

Walker received 76.6 percent of the Baseball Writers of America Association vote

PHOTOS: Heavy snowfall breaks window, causing avalanche into B.C. newsroom office

It was a chaotic start to the week for the Kitimat Northern Sentinel

Canadian law firm launches class action on behalf of Iran flight victims

Flight 752 was shot down by Iran shortly after take off

Mission Hill cellarman fired after mistakenly dumping $162K of wine down the drain

The former employee filed a grievance with the West Kelowna winery but was unsuccesful

Police suspect foul play in Cowichan Tribes death

Police are looking at foul play in relation to a death on… Continue reading

Hospital patient pleads guilty to dumbbell assault of nurse in Abbotsford

Neale Heath admits to assault causing bodily harm in attack last September

Most Read