While Panorama Recreation Centre has created additional daycare spots at Greenglade Community Centre, North Saanich is among six communities in Greater Victoria suffering from a “chronic shortage” of daycare space. (Black Press Media File)

North Saanich among six communities facing ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Findings appear in a report that also analyzed daycare in Central Saanich and Sidney

A recent report finds a chronic shortage of daycare spaces is not only causing significant problems for local families, but also hurting the regional economy.

This finding appears in the North Saanich Child Care Inventory and Action Plan, which analyzed available daycare services in North Saanich, one of six municipalities in Greater Victoria analyzed by Queenswood Consulting Group.

“A chronic shortage of daycare is causing significant problems for families with young children – impacting the quality of life, family budgets, and our municipal economies,” it reads.

According to the survey, less than half of the children from newborne to age 12 in North Saanich who need a daycare spot currently have access to the service, a fact that has left many families scrambling for care with consequences for their careers and budgets, not to mention the quality of care that their children receive. The issue has been especially pressing for families whose children attend KELSET Elementary school.

Saanich, Oak Bay and Highlands joined the three Saanich Peninsula communities in securing a grant of $150,000 from the provincial government through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBMC) to conduct the research. The six municipalities surveyed by consultants contain 45 per cent of families with children under 14 years old living in the Capital Regional District (CRD).

RELATED: No Christmas miracle for North Saanich child care program

RELATED:Search for space continues as North Saanich child care program closes

RELATED:After-school program in North Saanich closes, leaves parents scrambling

The report, set to appear Monday before North Saanich council, offers both regional and local insights.

On the regional level, affordability, flexibility and improvements in the structure and substantive quality of childhood education appear as top priorities among respondents, with nearly 536 respondents across all six municipalities ranking affordability as the most important element of a future child care action plan, followed by child care with flexible hours (288), structured early child care education and programming (279) and better quality child care services (218).

Looking at North Saanich specifically, the report finds the community 297 spaces short to ensure a spot for all 494 (estimated) children aged 0 to 12 needing care. North Saanich’s total population of children aged 0 to 12 is 1,006.

“There just simply isn’t enough quality, affordable childcare, and finding somewhere open before 7:30 to 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. is even more challenging,” the report quotes a survey respondent. “How are parents who commute 30 [minutes] plus each way supposed to make this work?”

This last comment points to the factor of geography, with 83 per cent of surveyed families across all six municipalities preferring child care close to home or their child’s elementary school.

In North Saanich, for example, the majority of child care spaces are not located in the neighbourhoods where the majority of children 12 and under live.

“We would have hoped to see the majority of child care spaces in Bazan Bay, Deep Cove, Dean Park and Lands End, especially Bazan Bay which has the most children, an elementary school, and is one of the municipality’s lower income neighbourhoods,” the report reads.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

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

Just Posted

Leila Bui with her parents Tuan (left) and Kierry Bui. The family says they are relieved the trial process has come to close Monday morning with Tenessa Nikirk found guilty of dangerous driving causing bodily harm. (Black Press Media file photo)
Sentencing begins for Peninsula woman convicted of hitting Saanich girl

Leila Bui has been in a non-responsive state since she was hit in 2017

VicPD and B.C. Conservation Officer Service teamed up to free two bucks who were entangled in a fishing net and dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them. (VicPD)
VIDEO: Victoria police, B.C. Conservation help two bucks caught in one fishing net

Bucks were also dragging a wheelbarrow sized piece of driftwood behind them

Victoria police are looking for high-risk offender Douglas McPherson. (Courtesy of VicPD)
High-risk parolee with history of bank robbery believed to be in Victoria

Police ask for public’s help locating 64-year-old parolee

(Black Press Media file photo)
Police arrest suspect in Saanich liquor store break and enters

Windowpane removal key component in string of thefts

A development proposed for Victoria’s Old Town would include 274 rental units. (Rendering by Integra Architecture)
274-unit rental development proposed for Victoria’s Old Town

Project would take take over block with tire shop, parking lots

FILE – Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry provides the latest update on the COVID-19 pandemic in the province during a press conference in the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, October 22, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. shatters more COVID-19 records with 817 new cases, highest-ever weekend total

Three people have died over the past three reporting periods

B.C. Liberal Leader Andrew Wilkinson speaks during a drive-in car rally campaign stop at a tour bus operator, in Delta, Saturday, Oct. 17, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Andrew Wilkinson stepping down as B.C. Liberal leader

Will stay on until the next party leader is chosen

Campbell River's new hospital, July 2018
Nurse diverts opiates and falsifies records at Campbell River Hospital

Nurse facing disciplinary action for moving opiates out of the hospital

A view from the deck of a home in SookePoint. The property is a prize in the VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery. Tickets are on sale now. (Contributed photo)
Millionaire Lottery home up for grabs in Sooke

Sooke prize home part of latest VGH and UBC Hospital Foundation Millionaire Lottery

FILE – B.C. Lions and Toronto Argonauts owner, Senator David Braley speaks after the CFL announced Vancouver will host the 2014 Grey Cup championship football game during a news conference in Vancouver, B.C., on Friday March 8, 2013. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
BC Lions owner David Braley dead at 79

Braley had bought the CFL team prior to 1997 season

Wind and waves were part of the reason why the Sail Canada High Performance Team selected HMCS Quadra as the winter training base for Tokyo 2021. Photo by Ken Dool
National sailing team prepares for Olympics at Vancouver Island location

HMCS Quadra is serving as the winter training base for the Canadian… Continue reading

NDP Leader John Horgan speaks with the owner of a barber shop while campaigning in Pitt Meadows, B.C., on Friday, Oct. 16, 2020. Campaigning was restricted by the coronavirus pandemic. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Horgan’s B.C. majority came with historically low voter turnout

Barely half of eligible voters cast ballots in snap election

Most Read