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Province commits $4.74M for 160 new child-care spaces at Burnaby schools

Burnaby Montessori academy and two affordable rental housing complexes also getting support for new child-care spots

The Burnaby school district is getting help from the province to add 160 new licensed child-care spaces at five local schools.

The Ministry of Children and Family Development announced Friday it is investing in new child-care centres at Brentwood Park, Kitchener, Parkcrest, Stoney Creek and Twelfth Avenue elementary schools.

The Brentwood Park centre will offer 24 before- and after-school-care spots, while the rest will offer 10 preschool spaces as well as 24 before- and after-school-care spaces.

Each centre will be run by a non-profit child-care provider picked by the district.

The modular buildings that will house the new centres cost $947,503 each, according to Burnaby school district secretary-treasurer Russell Horswill, so the provincial funding will total nearly $4.74 million.

“It is our intent to build all units at the same time,” Horswill told the NOW. “We have begun the process to design the units, and the plan is to build the same design five times.”

In October 2019, the school district announced a comprehensive three-phase plan to add more child care at local schools with help from the province and the City of Burnaby.

The plan got a boost in March 2020, when the province agreed to commit $13.7 million and the city agreed to provide $6.2 million for phase 2, which included adding centres at Stride, Marlborough, Cascade Heights, Rosser, Westridge and Suncrest elementary schools, the new Burnaby North Secondary School and the Marian education center. 

Horswill said Friday’s MCFD announcement represents the province’s support of phase 3 of the district’s plan.

“We are grateful for our partnerships with the provincial government and the City of Burnaby, as well as those we have in the community that have enabled us to be a part of supporting local child care,” Burnaby school board chair Jen Mezei said in the government press release. “We recognize the importance of quality, inclusive child care to families in our community, and we are proud that our district has been a leader for more than 35 years in enabling space in our schools and on our properties.”

MCFD announced it is also supporting 135 new spaces at Wonderworld Montessori Academy-Metrotown, 45 spaces at two new affordable rental housing complexes in Burnaby and 17 spaces at Dragons Grove in New Westminster.

“As we enter the fourth year of our 10-year Childcare BC plan, thousands of families are already feeling the life-changing impact of having affordable, quality and inclusive child care,” Burnaby-Lougheed MLA and minister of state for child care Katrina Chen said in the news release. “As we continue to build towards an inclusive universal child-care system, these new spaces will make it easier for parents, especially mothers, to pursue their own goals, while also being part of B.C.’s economic recovery.”

Follow Cornelia Naylor on Twitter @CorNaylor