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New daycare a first for 'underserved' Port Moody neighbourhood

The daycare facility in Port Moody's College Park/Seaview neighbourhood will have 37 spaces.
Work is already underway to convert the second floor of the Westhill Centre to a daycare centre that will be operated by the YMCA.

A Port Moody neighbourhood is getting its first daycare facility.

But, it comes with a hefty price tag.

The facility is being constructed on the second floor of the Westhill Centre adjacent to the Westhill pool in the city’s College Park/Seaview neighbourhood.

Its 37 spaces — 12 for infants and toddlers up to 30 months and 25 for children aged thee to five — will be operated by the YMCA. An area north of the building’s current entrance ramp will be converted to a dedicated outdoor playground space.

The project is part of a $2.9-million renovation to the building that includes a new roof membrane. An additional $200,000 is being spent to build a new concrete walkway with stairs and a ramp to connect the building’s entrance to the parking lot as well a conversion of the pool’s disinfection system from chlorine gas to liquid chlorine.

The provincial government’s Childcare BC New Space fund is providing almost $1.5 million towards the project while the city is contributing $520,854 from its community amenity contribution reserve fund.

However, a report released from a closed council meeting in April last year said rising costs, since a feasibility assessment for the daycare was completed in 2020, necessitated a further infusion of $632,000 from the $6.7-million grant Port Moody received in early 2023 as part of the province’s growing communities fund meant to boost services, infrastructure and amenities to keep up with population increases.

In fact, at one point, the estimated cost to build the daycare ballooned almost $1 million over the original budget of $1.978 million. But approximately $300,000 in economies were realized by reducing the scope of some of its elements, including a 40 per cent reduction to the size of the outdoor playground and the installation a more modest canopy structure over the new walkway.

The roof replacement, walkway upgrade and conversion of the pool disinfection system are being funded by separate approved budgets.

Port Moody Mayor Meghan Lahti said the daycare is badly needed, especially in a part of the city that is “currently underserved.”

"High-quality, accessible child care services are critical for families and important for healthy child development as well as Port Moody’s economy," she added in a news release.

Jenna Sudds, Canada’s Minister of Families, Children and Social Development, said the facility will make a big difference for families in Port Moody.

“This new facility will provide access to affordable, high-quality, flexible and inclusive regulated child care in the community while also providing parents with significant savings.”

Construction of the daycare is expected to be completed by the end of August.

The new walkway and pool disinfection system should be ready for the start of the swimming season.