KAMLOOPS, B.C.: The Children’s Circle Daycare Society (CCDS) has been in operation in Kamloops since 1996 and operates two childcare centres – St. Paul’s Early Learning Centre, with a license to care for 28 children, and the Children’s Circle Childcare Centre, with a license to care for 50 children. Recently, ARPA Investments purchased a piece of property in Valleyview with the intention of helping the CCDS to build and expand the number of daycare spaces they can offer to local families. On May 28, 2019 Kamloops City Council authorized administration to enter into a land exchange with ARPA Investments to accommodate the relocation of the Children’s Circle Childcare Centre from its proposed new location at 1642/1646 Valleyview Drive to the City-owned affordable housing site at 1430 9th Avenue. This authorized land exchange and application to rezone to permit daycare use means there may be an opportunity to move forward to build a new Centre near the downtown area closer to the current location.
“This process started because we have an agreement with Interior Health Authority, who leases us a building on the Royal Inland Hospital site,” said Tyson McNeil-Hay, Chair of the CCDS Board of Directors. “Our lease is coming to an end because of the hospital’s expansion plans and our Board was looking to construct a new facility, which would provide greater stability for our Centre and support the creation of new childcare spaces. Currently, there is more demand than what we, or any other daycare facility in Kamloops, can supply. It’s a city-wide challenge.”
The CCDS has a waitlist of over 150 children for its preschool program, ages 3 – 5-years-old, and over 200 children waiting to enroll in the Infant/Toddler program.
“Our community is in desperate need of daycare space for children,” said McNeil-Hay. “Due to the help and hard work of the partners of ARPA Investments and the City of Kamloops we are hoping we may be able to help address the need so many of our local families have.”
Joshua Knaak of ARPA Investments said, “We’ve always worked on projects in the community that help to solve a challenge. We believe with the authorization from the City of Kamloops to enter into a land exchange with ARPA and the rezoning application for the 9th Avenue property, this could make the project a real win for our entire community because it would keep the daycare downtown for the benefit of families and would align with the City’s planning.”
The proposed building site is well-suited for delivering childcare services as it is located directly across the street from the Kindergarten to Grade 12 School of the Arts. It features a wide-range outdoor play area and excellent access for families that work/live in the downtown core. This move would enable the Centre to increase current childcare spaces to a total of 112 spaces – 56 spaces for both the infant/toddler and the 3 – 5-year-old programs. In addition, there is potential to add an afterschool and preschool program, potentially adding another 32 new spaces.
The 9th Avenue property was identified in 2011 for 30 housing units and ARPA is proposing a reduction to 8-10 units of family housing which is consistent with the approved use. The smaller scale housing project combined with the proposed daycare use works well for the site.
The CCDS is excited about the potential for this project and what it will mean for hundreds of local families finding care for their children.