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

Just Posted

Canadian Conservation Corp offers free nine-month adventure

Adventure program targets those aged 18 to 30

Fairway Gorge Paddle Club outrigger relay race raises money for men’s health

Annual Movember event returns, all proceeds will go to B.C. Cancer and Island Prostate Centre

Halloween roundup: Bonfires, fireworks and haunted houses

Events in Victoria, Esquimalt, Oak Bay, Saanich, Saanich Peninsula and Sooke

Clear skies and wind ahead for Tuesday

Plus a look ahead at the week

City of Victoria considers proposed senior rental development

The Mount St. Angela’s complex aims to include affordable rental units

WATCH: Greater Victoria’s top stories of the day

A round-up of the day’s top stories

Second young woman dies after rollover crash near Williams Lake

‘Someone’s going to get her heart, which is awesome, because she has the best heart in the world’

Google searches for ‘how to vote’ surge on Election Day

Interest spikes despite social media campaign by Elections Canada

Union says Western Forest Products refuses to budge from ‘unreasonable concessions’

According to a press release, both parties met on Oct. 16, 18, 19, and 20.

Alberta man pleads guilty, fined for hunting without a licence in North Island

It’s the responsibility of each hunter or angler to know whether they are considered a B.C. Resident.

Alcohol a possible factor in crash that killed 17-year-old girl near Williams Lake

A pickup truck left the road and rolled over on Highway 20 on the weekend

B.C. woman must pay $1,000 after unleashed dog bites another

Owner should never have left Bibi unattended, tribunal member wrote

Climate activist Greta Thunberg’s mural defaced in Edmonton

The eyes on the portrait were blacked out

App designed to help cut waste and grocery bills

Food security advocates say addressing poverty is ultimate key

Most Read