Saanich is among six communities that have applied for funding to improve daycare.
The municipality has partnered up with the Highlands, Oak Bay, Central Saanich, North Saanich and Sidney to apply for $150,000 in provincial funds towards surveying gaps in available daycare space. Saanich itself is spearheading the application on behalf of the other communities, whose respective councils must also sign off.
If approved, funding for the analysis comes from a grant program that the Union of British Columbia Municipalities administers. The program, worth $3 million dollars, grants up to $25,000 to communities interested in creating new child care spaces over the next 10 years to help fill local gaps in child care services. Municipal officials heard last month that their respective communities can file joint applications.
“Following the gap analysis and workshops, we anticipate enabling non-profits and other groups to make individuals applications for capital grants of up to [$1 million] each,” said Haynes in a report to council.
Such funding would come from a second grant valued at $13.7 million.
Haynes reiterated Monday that the municipality itself is not interested in creating additional daycare spaces.
Other communities in the region are also pursuing funding, including Victoria and West Shore municipalities, said Haynes, who has promised to help improve the supply of affordable daycare. Haynes said earlier that the chronic shortage of daycare creates “significant problems” for young families in Saanich and surrounding municipalities.
“This is impacting the quality of life, family budgets and the economy of our municipality,” he said.