Sharon Larade is looking for after-school childcare for the second time in months after Beacon Community Services announced that it would stop operating an after-school care program out of Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church. According to a letter from Beacon Community Services, the church appears to have re-claimed the space. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)

After-school program in North Saanich closes, leaves parents scrambling

Sharon Larade is looking for after-school childcare for the second time in months

Local parents are scrambling once more as an after-school care program closes this month just months after it opened to replace a program that had closed months earlier.

Beacon’s Nature Club offering nature-based after-school care for 5- to 12-year-old children at Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church will close its doors Dec. 20. Beacon Community Services started the service in September after KELSET Elementary School reclaimed space from an after-school program offered at that school. That program closed its doors on June 28.

Two dozen families received notification of the pending closure. Sharon Larade’s family was one of them and she is now struggling to find alternatives for her son.

“I am just a parent, who is freaking out because I don’t have child care, and if don’t have child care, I can’t work,” she said. “So it is a pretty big stresser.” Larade said the closure has upset her family’s planning as the centre had committed itself to care run until the end of June, including during the Christmas break and the March 2020 spring break.

Beacon Community Services, which runs the service, announced the closure last month.

“We’re sorry to say we will be not be continuing the Beacon’s Nature Club out-of-school care program past the end of December,” said Nicole Hietamaa, out-of-school care coordinator in a letter dated Nov. 15. “We realize this is surprising news and we very much regret any inconvenience or disruption it may cause your family.”

RELATED: About 25 parents scramble for daycare after owner of Langford-location bails

According to Hietamaa’s letter, the church appears to have reclaimed the space for its own purposes.

“We are grateful to the congregation and [minister] of Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church for opening their doors and hosting Beacon’s Nature Club since September,” she said. “We also recognize and respect the [church] must give priority to a variety of its other core activities and it’s therefore not feasible to continue our current arrangement.”

Hietamaa said in her letter that Beacon Community Services continues to look for appropriate space to offer affordable licensed before- and after-school care for local families. “However, at this time we do not have a viable alternate location,” she said in directing parents to a number of alternatives.

Larade said she is currently exploring a number of alternatives offered by for-profit childcare providers, as well as Panorama Recreation Centre. “Not everybody has coverage for both before and after school care, so that is a challenge,” she said. “Parents including myself are looking at whether or not they can handle changing their work schedules to accommodate either one or the other. If you don’t have a program that goes beyond 5 or 5:30 p.m. and you need coverage until 6 p.m., you need to figure something out.”

RELATED: B.C. adds another 300 child care educator training spaces

Larade also said that she been talking to officials at KELSET Elementary School, as well as the school board. Larade said they are aware of the situation and are said to be working on it, but no conclusive solution has emerged yet.

“For the second time in less than a year, local families are scrambling to apply for last minute childcare in a community that lacks sufficient providers and spaces,” Larade said. “Many providers do not maintain waitlists.”

The Peninsula News Review has reached out to Saanich Peninsula Presbyterian Church for comment. A spokesperson said it will comment at a later date.


Like us on Facebook and follow @wolfgang_depner

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Just Posted

West Shore sees drop in traffic violations

The 315 violations in first six months of the year represent a 42 per cent decrease from 2018

UVic researchers develop industry-changing ‘hyper-glue’

‘Cross-linking’ technology already playing a role in performance body armour

Study on Malahat road closures expected by end of year

‘Vancouver Island traffic is like an hourglass,’ says vice-chair of CRD Traffic Safety Commission

Greater Victoria sees lowest rainfall numbers for November in decades

Only a third of the expected rainfall was seen across the Capital Region

More than a million square feet of rental units proposed for downtown Victoria development

The Harris Green development is proposed to take over two large lots on Yates Street

VIDEO: A brief history of bumps in the Trudeau-Trump relationship

Remember Peter Navarro saying ‘there’s a special place in hell’ for a foreign leader who aims to cheat?

POLL: Will you be donating to charities over the holiday season?

Many here in Victoria joined others around the world to take part… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 3

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Vancouver Island town to star in new Syfy series: Resident Alien

Ladysmith will play the role of Patience, Colorado in the series

Half of shoppers say they have no holiday spending budget

B.C. consumers surveyed estimate they will spend $921 this season

Opening day delayed at Mount Washington

Dec. 6 was set as opening day but will now be delayed due to lack of snow.

Province begins forfeiture of Shawnigan contaminated soil site

The forfeiture proceedings do not impact the closure plan for the landfill site

Man killed in crash due to ‘absolutely treacherous’ conditions on Coquihalla

Winter means icy roads are dangerous and drivers should be careful, RCMP say

Former Burns Lake mayor gets two years for sexual assaults against minors

The Crown is seeking four to six years federal time; the defence wants 18 months in provincial jail

Most Read