While Panorama Recreation Centre has created additional daycare spots at Greenglade Community Centre, North Saanich is among six communities in Greater Victoria suffering from a “chronic shortage” of daycare space. (Black Press Media File)

North Saanich among six communities facing ‘chronic shortage’ of daycare spaces

Findings appear in a report that also analyzed daycare in Central Saanich and Sidney

A recent report finds a chronic shortage of daycare spaces is not only causing significant problems for local families, but also hurting the regional economy.

This finding appears in the North Saanich Child Care Inventory and Action Plan, which analyzed available daycare services in North Saanich, one of six municipalities in Greater Victoria analyzed by Queenswood Consulting Group.

“A chronic shortage of daycare is causing significant problems for families with young children – impacting the quality of life, family budgets, and our municipal economies,” it reads.

According to the survey, less than half of the children from newborne to age 12 in North Saanich who need a daycare spot currently have access to the service, a fact that has left many families scrambling for care with consequences for their careers and budgets, not to mention the quality of care that their children receive. The issue has been especially pressing for families whose children attend KELSET Elementary school.

Saanich, Oak Bay and Highlands joined the three Saanich Peninsula communities in securing a grant of $150,000 from the provincial government through the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBMC) to conduct the research. The six municipalities surveyed by consultants contain 45 per cent of families with children under 14 years old living in the Capital Regional District (CRD).

RELATED: No Christmas miracle for North Saanich child care program

RELATED:Search for space continues as North Saanich child care program closes

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

The report, set to appear Monday before North Saanich council, offers both regional and local insights.

On the regional level, affordability, flexibility and improvements in the structure and substantive quality of childhood education appear as top priorities among respondents, with nearly 536 respondents across all six municipalities ranking affordability as the most important element of a future child care action plan, followed by child care with flexible hours (288), structured early child care education and programming (279) and better quality child care services (218).

Looking at North Saanich specifically, the report finds the community 297 spaces short to ensure a spot for all 494 (estimated) children aged 0 to 12 needing care. North Saanich’s total population of children aged 0 to 12 is 1,006.

“There just simply isn’t enough quality, affordable childcare, and finding somewhere open before 7:30 to 8 a.m. or after 5 p.m. is even more challenging,” the report quotes a survey respondent. “How are parents who commute 30 [minutes] plus each way supposed to make this work?”

This last comment points to the factor of geography, with 83 per cent of surveyed families across all six municipalities preferring child care close to home or their child’s elementary school.

In North Saanich, for example, the majority of child care spaces are not located in the neighbourhoods where the majority of children 12 and under live.

“We would have hoped to see the majority of child care spaces in Bazan Bay, Deep Cove, Dean Park and Lands End, especially Bazan Bay which has the most children, an elementary school, and is one of the municipality’s lower income neighbourhoods,” the report reads.

wolfgang.depner@peninsulanewsreview.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Shawn Magnus of Sidney Courier has partnered with Sidney Business Improvement Area Society for free commercial delivery for society members. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney business association partners with courier for free commercial delivery

Service started Oct. 26 and extends to a radius of 35 kilometres

The Starbucks at 3849 Cadboro Bay Rd. closed permanently on Sunday, Oct. 25. (Google Maps)
Cadboro Bay Starbucks closes despite petition signed by nearly 250 residents

Closure part of transition to more drive-thru locations, Starbucks spokesperson says

The iconic and well-loved live music venue Logan’s is permanently closing its doors due to impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. (Google Maps)
Fernwood pub Logan’s permanently closing its doors

Live music venue unable to weather COVID-19 storm

Struggling to afford rent, Sylvia Bailey is hoping to trade her love of cooking for some more affordable accommodation. (Photo courtesy of Sylvia Bailey)
Retired Victoria woman looking to cook, clean or garden in exchange for rent

Sylvia Bailey is hoping to use her love for cooking to help afford rent

Theft of $120 in Sharpie is among the files Oak Bay Police Department responded to last week. (Black Press Media file photo)
Man steals $120 worth of Sharpies from Oak Bay Village

Police respond to daytime break-in and theft, among other calls last week

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry arrives for briefing on the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020 (B.C. government)
B.C. records 217 more COVID-19 cases, mask use urged

Infection spike continues, 21 senior facilities affected

Los Angeles Dodgers celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Rays 3-1 to win the baseball World Series in Game 6 Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
L.A. Dodgers beat Rays 3-1 to win 1st World Series title since 1988

National League champs claim crown in six games

Seven-year-old Aaliyah Rosa was found dead in an apartment in Langley in July. (Langley Advance Times files)
Child’s body cold, no pulse: Off-duty cop testifies in Langley mother’s murder trial

The seven-year-old girl’s mother faces a first-degree murder charge

A picture of John taken at Children’s Hospital Vancouver last week. Photo courtesy, Alicia Sewid.
RCMP investigating after young boy run over by SUV in Campbell River parking lot

The seven-year-old has multiple injuries including a broken pelvis and was admitted to Children’s Hospital in Vancouver

People march during a climate strike in Montreal, Friday, Sept. 27, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Judge rejects 15 youths’ climate change lawsuit against Canadian government

Justice Michael Manson has granted the government’s motion to strike the plaintiffs’ claim

A video message from Mrime Minister Justin Trudeau was streamed to attendees at the State of the Island Economic Summit on Tuesday morning. (Vancouver Island Economic Alliance image)
Prime minister greets Vancouver Island economic summit attendees

Vancouver Island Economic Alliance conference being held virtually this week

A woman walks through check in at WestJet at Pearson International airport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Toronto on Wednesday, Oct. 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Strong support for pre-flight COVID testing ahead of upcoming WestJet trial: YVR

Airport is partnering with UBC, which is helping choose the method of pre-flight testing

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau provides an update on the COVID pandemic during a press conference in Ottawa on Tuesday, Oct. 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Trudeau says pandemic ‘really sucks,’ and that Christmas gatherings are up in the air

The prime minister encouraged residents to continue to follow the advice of local health authorities

Most Read