District staff will be presenting an idea to the Integris Credit Union Board of Directors next month regarding turning the current credit union building into a childcare facility.
Vanderhoof mayor, Gerry Thiessen will be making the presentation along with the district recreation director Ashley Kuznak-Raby, after it has been determined that the number of children that require childcare services in Vanderhoof, outweigh the facilities available in town.
“She [Kuznak-Raby] came to us with a concern regarding youth and the needs that we have in our community … so we’re going to ask the credit union if we can talk to them and find out what opportunity there is to use the building or acquire it in the future,” said Thiessen.
The building, located on West Columbia Street, is still in use at the moment, however the new credit union building is expected to be finished in September, at which point the building will become vacant.
In a report prepared by Kuznak-Raby, it stated that there are only 67 day care spaces and 10 pre-school spaces available in Vanderhoof for an estimated number of 500 children between the ages of zero and six in town.
As a result, a number of local children are forced to be placed in non-licensed childcare facilities.
A study completed by Success by 6, an early childhood development initiative, revealed that the key reasons for families in Vanderhoof not using childcare services in town are: a lack of available childcare spots, facilities available are too expensive and due to a lack of quality or licensed facilities.
As well as a lack of day care and pre-school facilities in town, there is also a recognized lack of proper facilities for before and after school recreation programs, generally aimed for children aged between eight and 11.
Kuznak-Raby inspected the building and determined that it would need minimal renovations to be turned into a childcare and youth recreation facility, bar taking down some walls and re-installing sinks as well as some painting and flooring.
After taking into account the revenue that the new facility would create, minus the costs, the overall cost to run the facility to the district has been estimated at $18,255 per year.
The cost to purchase the building is estimated at between $300-$600,000 as compared to similar properties for sale in the area. However, Integris has expressed an interest in receiving ideas from non-profit organizations for the building use and said they would consider the appraised cost of the building if the idea would provide a great benefit to the community.
After the presentation, a full report will be presented to council … “Then we will be able to decide whether this is a good way to go,” said Thiessen.