The crunch for childcare spaces in downtown Port Coquitlam may soon ease.
Yesterday (Tuesday), the city’s committee-of-council voted to recommend a rezoning bid by Bramblewood Montessori to council for further consideration and hold a public hearing.
Owners Ashok and Bhavna Badiani want to boost the number of spots from 74 to 122 — with 24 more before-and-after school care spaces and 24 more infant and toddler places — by expanding their business at 2255 Wilson Ave. to the western part of the building’s ground floor.
Laura Lee Richard, PoCo’s director of development services, said the site has enough parking, is within walking distance to parks and the new recreation complex and has an outdoor playground, which will be scheduled with rotating groups.
“There’s a need for more spaces in daycare and we need to get more people employed in ECE [early childhood education],” Coun. Nancy McCurrach told the committee March 12.
Mayor Brad West, whose son attends Bramblewood Montessori, said he sees a number of working parents escorting their kids to the facility before catching the West Coast Express in the morning.
“It’s well situated to serve a population that needs child care. The quality of care is excellent and they are good operators,” West said.
(After the vote, West told The Tri-City News he sees no conflict of interest as he has “no financial stake” in the business other than being a paying customer).
If the rezoning is approved, Richard said the capacity boost would help to address the city’s daycare demands, as reported in the 2017 Tri-Cities Child Care Needs Assessment.
In January, the city applied to the provincial government for funding to design and outfit an area in the rebuilt recreation complex for 20 licensed pre-school spaces; it’s also asking for cash to hire a consultant to develop a plan to create more childcare spots in the city.