Vancouver opens new childcare spaces with developers; Waitlist in downtown Vancouver still 2,000 names long

CBC News

The City of Vancouver is working with condo developers to open two new childcare centres, but advocates say there is still a severe shortage of places.

The new child care centres will open in downtown Vancouver this fall, with space for 74 children and were mandated under development permits issued by city hall.

But advocates say the waiting list for childcare in downtown Vancouver alone is still 2,000 names long and childcare is at a crisis point in the province.

Sharon Gregson, spokeperson for the Coalition of Child Care Advocates of B.C., says she wants to make childcare an election issue.

“The role of the provincial government is to put forward a plan that extends childcare the way we expect our public education system to be offered to children and their families, so we need spaces that are available, that are high quality, that are affordable for families,” she said.

Gregson says neither the NDP, nor the Liberals have a plan that will satisfy her, but the NDP plan is a good first step. But for now, it is cities like Vancouver that are taking the initiative.

Coun. Andrea Reimer, who co-chairs the city’s Joint Childcare Council, says requiring developers to include child care facilities is a tool the city has been using more and more over the last few years.

“Generally speaking we have been over the last four to five years now really focused on where we can put new ones into developments or community centres, trying to value-add developments that are happening anyway and trying to make sure that childcare is part of that equation,” she said.

But Reimer said the equation isn’t always simple, because development permits are also tied to other community amenities, like social housing or green space, and there are limitations on how much developers can be asked to provide.

“We’re trying to provide arts and culture and childcare and housing and parks and community centres and libraries, and that all comes out of the same pot.”…

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