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Port Coquitlam neighbourhood, school get first dibs on new child care spots

As many as 145 new child care spaces coming to Port Coquitlam, with dozens of spots in one B.C.-funded site to go to families in the neighbourhood of Kwayhquitlum middle school and to Kwikwetlem First Nation members
Child Care Centre Getty Images
Two child care centres are coming to Port Coquitlam — one a private centre for 100 children and another with 45 spaces with provincial funding.

Finding child care can be a challenge.

But in Port Coquitlam help is on the way as parents needing childcare can look forward to the addition of 145 new child care spaces in growing neighbourhoods in the city.

The B.C. government is supporting Atira Women's Resource Society to create 12 infant/toddler spots, 25 spaces for children aged three years to kindergarten, and eight multi-age spaces at the Alex, a new affordable housing complex at Flint Street and Prairie Avenue on the city’s north side. 

The complex will also provide 83 rental homes for women and children and women-headed families in the Tri-Cities area.

Meanwhile, plans are in the works to establish a child care facility under the clock tower at Shaughnessy Station mall, at the corner of Shaughnessy Street and Lougheed Highway.

On Tuesday, Dec. 15, Port Coquitlam council approved a rezoning that would allow a child care facility in a 6,000-square foot ground-floor space in a building next to the clock tower.

According to the applicant, Terracap, one-third of the child care spaces will be for infant/toddler aged children and the remainder for preschool-age programs. 

Minimal changes are required to update the building, but landscaping will be done to permit a 3,400-sq. ft. outdoor space for children in the clock-tower courtyard as part of efforts to meet Fraser Health requirements.

The child care facility at the Alex, located at 2117 and 2121 Prairie Ave. and 3235 Flint St., will offer priority access to children living at the complex and in the immediate neighbourhood as well as Kwikwetlem First Nation members and students at Kwayhquitlam middle school. 

The Alex is scheduled to be completed in spring 2022. The the Alex child care spaces are funded by the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund and in partnership with BC Housing.

"Atira is excited to include an early care and learning centre at the Alex, a centre that will integrate cultural competency and equity in its programming and focus on reconciliation," stated Janice Abbott, CEO of Atira, in a news release.

Once established, the new child care centres are expected to help meet the need for care for the children of working parents.

A recent child care analysis for the city found there are about four children for each child care space available in the city, or 2,245 child care spaces for 8,380 children ages from 0 to 12.

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