A Burnaby father says he is desperate to find new child care for his son, as his beloved daycare is facing eviction from its home in a local church.
“We’re scrambling,” said Ranga Padmanabhan, whose four-year-old son has attended Sir Andrew’s Daycare for 18 months.
The daycare’s manager, Linda Marsh-Beauchemin, said the church that has hosted the daycare in its basement for more than 20 years abruptly gave a 30-day eviction notice in late May. Now, she said, they have until the end of June to move out of the Central Christian Assembly building at the corner of Imperial Street and Kingsway.
She said Padmanabhan is among more than 30 families who will be without child care in the coming months.
There is no possible way there is openings in a child-care centre in 30 days,” she said.
Padmanabhan said he has called more than 10 local daycares. None have space, he said, and some have waiting lists as long as 18 months.
Sir Andrew’s has a second location on Boundary Road that may be able to take eight of the full-time children, Marsh-Beauchemin said, but there’s no room for the rest. Padmanabhan said that he may enrol his son there as a last resort, but that would mean a 40-minute drive from his home in east Burnaby.
The church’s lead pastor, Mark Lewis, contested the version of events Marsh-Beauchemin and the daycare’s board chair, Karen McRobbie, told the NOW.
He said the daycare has been chronically behind on rent and he started the legal process to end the relationship with Sir Andrew’s in February.
“We’ve been in a relationship with these guys for a long time. It’s been a strained one for a long time,” he said.
“There’s been a lot of months upon months where they haven’t paid any rent and where they’ve been difficult to deal with.”
Marsh-Beauchemin said the relationship with the church has only changed since Lewis took over a year ago. She admitted that Sir Andrew’s was behind on rent until recently but said previous pastors have allowed late payments to accommodate parents who are sometimes behind on payment.
A historically cooperative relationship between the church and daycare has evaporated, she said. Marsh-Beauchemin said she accepts the relationship will not be salvaged, but she is requesting a 62-day extension to allow them to provide summer camps for families who have already signed up.
“May you please have compassion and forgiveness for the families at the centre and allow until the end of the August,” she said.