A new child care facility will be built on a lot, 351 Kootenay Ave., in Tadanac. Photo: Sheri Regnier

A new child care facility will be built on a lot, 351 Kootenay Ave., in Tadanac. Photo: Sheri Regnier

65 new child care spaces targeted for Trail

Trail accesses grants to fund new Unicorn Childcare Centre in Tadanac

Trail families can look forward to a new licenced child care centre in September, 2022.

The Unicorn Childcare Centre is planned for construction in Tadanac at the north end of Kootenay Ave. and will see 65 new licensed child care spaces become available.

The city will receive over $2.5M in grant funding from the Ministry of Children and Family Development’s Childcare BC New Spaces fund, in partnership with the Union of BC Municipalities and the Columbia Basin Trust.

“We are extremely grateful for the provincial funding for this much needed facility,” said Trail Mayor Lisa Pasin in a release. “Several key local community stakeholders including the Skills Centre, Teck, and Interior Health have been actively pursuing a community childcare initiative for more than three years and we are thrilled to know these efforts will now come to fruition.”

The centre will provide 12 infant and toddler spaces, 24 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten, 10 preschool spaces and 24 school-age spaces. The extended hours will go from 4:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., seven days a week, to meet the needs of parents in the Greater Trail area who work regular, shift, casual and other irregular hours.

“It’s so important that families in the Kootenays have access to child care on a schedule that works for them,” said Katrine Conroy, MLA for Kootenay West. “I’m excited to see the City of Trail’s plan for an extended-hour child care centre, which means that parents who don’t work a nine-to-five job will have the options they need.

The city also reports that the centre will be managed by an experienced non-profit childcare agency that focuses on inclusion, diversity and creativity in its play-based learning environment.

The grant application was driven by the childcare needs identified in several studies over the last 15 years, and more recently, a 2018 feasibility study compiled by the Skills Centre under the contracted services of Bock and Associates.

“The study reveals the current availability of childcare creates a significant barrier to families, mainly those working in shift work environments” said Sue Bock, President, Bock and Associates. “Knowing we will be able to accommodate families needing shift-friendly childcare is a huge win for our community as well as our local workplaces relying on parents working outside of traditional work hours.”

In all, about 125 new spaces across the Kootenays means more kids in our communities will have a safe space to learn and grow, said Conroy.

In addition to Trail, the Province is supporting licensed child care spaces in Fernie and Elkford.

Bright Beginnings Community Preschool, an existing child care facility in Fernie, is being renovated to create 51 new licensed child care spaces for preschoolers, bringing the total number of child care spaces available to 67.

The new spaces will be available this summer.

The Elkford Child Care Centre is partnering with the Elkford Women’s Task Force Society to create 28 new licensed child care spaces, including 12 school-age spaces and 16 multi-age spaces.

“Helping to ensure families can access safe and affordable child care where and when they need it is a priority for the trust, as informed by people living in the Columbia Basin,” said Johnny Strilaeff, president and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust. “These new spaces will be a welcome addition to assist families, caregivers and their support networks.”

The province has funded almost 26,000 new licensed spaces since the launch of Childcare BC in 2018 – more than 6,000 of which are now open.

The Childcare BC plan has helped parents save up to $1,600 a month, per child, for a total of more than $770 million through the Affordable Child Care Benefit and Child Care Fee Reduction Initiative.

Read: Trail Memorial Centre undergoes historic restoration


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