Provincial standards problematic: council

A plan to add new portable trailers for child care in Red Deer is being hampered by provincial standards, says Red Deer city council.

A plan to add new portable trailers for child care in Red Deer is being hampered by provincial standards, says Red Deer city council.

In 2008, the Department of Children and Youth Services announced a plan to create more child care spaces and as part of that component, school boards could apply for modular units to be located on school sites for these new spaces. But the criteria set out by the department requires these portables not be attached to the school.

Since they are not connected, the city considers these portables as temporary buildings.

Municipal planning commissions are then mandated to consider temporary buildings for short-term periods, but this doesn’t support local school board efforts for continuity in planning, says a staff report.

“We said ‘Why are these free standing and creating these somewhat awkward arrangements related to access and site layout?’” said city manager Craig Curtis. “What was being created was bad planning. We found it was actually the Department of Education not allowing them to be attached to schools.”

He said additions could be done to schools as long as they have separate accesses, he added.

“And it could ensure proper building construction and proper planning and development of our child care spaces,” Curtis said.

Council endorsed a resolution on modulars that will be passed onto the Alberta Urban Municipalities Association, a group that lobbies the province on behalf of municipalities.

The resolution calls for the departments of Children and Youth Services and Alberta Education to co-operate on ensuring modular units for child care are connected to permanent structures.

The resolution would go to a vote at the AUMA convention this fall.

Council also passed a resolution urging the province to consider trail construction as part of the building or rebuilding of roads and highways. A third resolution, asking for the province to request school taxes from the city at an earlier date than May, was tabled because the city had asked for a similar resolution which was adopted by the AUMA members last year.

The city will now see if the resolution should be forwarded again or if other avenues, like letter-writing to MLAs, would push the issue.

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