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Pemberton Childcare Society receives $500,000 grant

Scheduled to open in September with 64 new spaces

A half million dollars in provincial funding has brought the Pemberton Childcare Society (PCS) within $50,000 of its $900,000 budget for a new daycare centre.

PSC chair Stephanie Coughlin, who has been working on the project since its inception four years ago, is clearly overjoyed by province’s speedy and positive response the organization’s grant application.

"Don’t you love it?" enthused Coughlin. "I’ve heard so many positive comments. People are pumped and energized. It’s so good."

The grant application, made to the Ministry of Children and Family Development in November, was approved on Feb. 17. This money, combined with an initial grant of $350,000 from the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation, means that PSC can move forward in contracting a builder for the facility.

"In the meantime we’ve already hired an architect," says Coughlin.

Initially proposed as a 3,000 square foot building, plans designed by the Vancouver architectural firm Chandler and Associates, call for a 4,500 sq. ft. facility. The PCS is currently reviewing the design options. While many of the design elements have yet to be decided, each program will have its own outdoor spaces featuring both covered and open playground areas.

The new facility will house four programs providing the community with 64 new daycare spots and provide employment for up to 15 daycare workers. The centre will focus on programs aimed at children aged 11 months to six years old.

"We’re super thankful for the Whistler Blackcomb Foundation coming on when they did and to the past mayor [Elinor Warner] and council," says Coughlin, adding that the current village administration has also been supportive of the project.

The daycare is likely to be situated behind the building currently housing the public library on Cottonwood Street.

While council approved contributing the land to the society last year, there was no specific space allocated for the daycare. The actual location will be dependent on a master plan being developed for Lot 15.

"It’s a wonderful thing for our community. It demonstrates great sustainability that we will have somewhere for our children to go," said Councillor Mark Blundell.

The third term VOP councilor has been an active supporter of the project and pushed his council to contribute land to the project.

While the PCS will have to wait for the Lot 15 master plan to be accepted before breaking ground, the board won’t be idle.

"Closer to May we’ll be looking at hiring a manager to assist in program development," says Coughlin.

In the meantime, there’s still another $50,000 to raise, so fundraising will remain a priority for the organization.

MLA Joan McIntyre will make a formal cheque presentation on Friday, Mar. 3 at 10 a.m. at the building site.