A group of families from a Port Moody daycare say they are being left in the dark about efforts to find space for nearly 100 children who have been attending programs at Moody elementary school.
“This has a huge effect on families,” said Cheri Keenan, who has children in BrightPath Early Learning and Child Care programs that are being moved to accommodate the need for more classroom space.
Approximately 100 families got the news that BrightPath’s initial lease agreement was not renewed beyond June 30, and while a solution has been found to accommodate 45 school-aged children until Oct. 27, another 49 children up to five years of age will lose their space Aug. 23.
The situation arises as School District 43 needs the space at Moody elementary school and while school aged students can be in the gym for before and after school care, it’s only a temporary measure according to SD43 spokesperson Peter Chevrier.
“To continue beyond this date would impact educational programming within Moody elementary,” Chevrier stated in an email. “The decision made by school district management was done with careful consideration. Our responsibility to comply with collective agreement language in support of the educational requirements of all our students was paramount to this outcome,” he further stated.
But Keenan can’t figure out why at least the after school program can’t continue in the gym and library.
She’s also worried families with younger children will be scrambling because their program closes Aug. 23 and child care spaces in the Tri-Cities are difficult to find.
“Parents signed contracts,” Keenan noted. “Livelihoods are affected,” she added.
In a statement, BrightPath confirmed that the program for all children has been moved to Moody middle until Aug. 23, after which time only the Out of School Care program will be allowed to move back to Moody elementary for two months until Oct. 27.
BrightPath will also refund deposits paid to families who lose care and PoMo children will have priority enrollment at BrightPath Coquitlam and Port Coquitlam locations.
As well, BrightPath noted that is working “closely” with the City of Port Moody, Fraser Health and a developer to finalize plans to locate to space across the street from Moody elementary but a requirement to provide outdoor space is a “significant issue.”
“BrightPath is doing everything possible to make this transition as quick and as seamless as possible for the children and families, while still maintaining the highest standard of licensed care,” the statement added.
But Keenan fears BrightPath won’t have a solution in time, leaving parents scrambling for care.
“That’s 50 more families other than than 50 for the younger, they are definitely out.”
Port Moody Mayor Mike Clay said the city has been in talks with BrightPath to come up with a solution but is not responsible for licensing, which is the job of Fraser Health, and requires access to outdoor space for children.
“Our zoning allows them to have a day care everywhere, it’s Fraser Health that requires outdoor space,” he said.