Province wants to create 1,000 new child-care spaces

$10-million plan announced

A provincial plan to develop 18 new Early Learning and Child Care Centres across the province has tweaked the interest of Red Deer Child Care Society, but executive director Rob Elliot says more details are needed.

The $10-million announcement on Tuesday is expected to create 1,000 new child-care spaces, cap fees at $25 a day, and address existing gaps by providing flexible options for parents doing shift work, accessible locations at public buildings, and supports for children with diverse needs.

Each new child-care centre will receive up to $500,000 in operating funding the first year, with the opportunity to receive two more years of funding. The location of new child-care centres will be where the demand is greatest, and will be announced early in 2017.

Elliot said he has all kinds of questions, like whether a subsidy is associated with plan.

“One of the difficulties is it does appear to cover operations, but capital costs don’t appear to be covered,” Elliot said.

“If you’re going to have to spend $1 million to construct a day care, you’re going to have to find that money.”

He said the non-profit society has been interested in expansion, but the economy has hampered discussion.

“As the economics recover, and they seem to be starting to, we’ll reopen the discussion with the board.”

The application deadline to apply for provincial funding is Jan. 20.

Elliot said it’s something Red Deer Child Care will look at seriously.

“It’s always heartening to us when there is money available.”

szielinski@www.reddeeradvocate.com

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