A childcare cooperative has been formed with the aim of creating Maple Creek’s first licensed daycare centre.
The proposed centre will have 42 spaces for infants, toddlers and preschoolers.
It is hoped a further 20 spaces will be available for school-aged children needing part-time, or before and after school care.
The target date for opening the new centre is March 2024 – at the latest.
“If everything goes according to plan, we should be open next year,” said Derek Behrman, president of the Maple Creek Childcare Cooperative, on Tuesday. “That is our hope.”
Government funding has already been approved; this includes Space Development Capital Funding and money for start-up costs.
The cooperative will also be embarking on fundraising and membership drives.
On Monday, the cooperative, which was incorporated on October 18 and has the support of the Town of Maple Creek, the RM, and Nekaneet First Nation, began its search for those interested in creating a facility.
A “request for expressions of interest” was sent out to mailboxes.
The notice said that interested parties could include: builder; contractor; sub-trades; drafter/engineer; accountant; and angel investor. They must be willing to abide by licensed childcare facility building guidelines and national building codes.
Project participants are asked to fill in a form with three fields: Who are you? What are you interested in doing? Please provide additional details regarding your interest/capabilities.
Forms should be returned by email to mcchildcarecoop@gmailcom, or in-person to Gillian LaBoucane (economic development officer) at the Town of Maple Creek Office.
The deadline for submissions is 4pm on Friday, December 9.
The cooperative will evaluate “expressions of interest”. Next steps could involve a short-list of individuals and development of facility planning.
“We are looking at building or leasing or retrofitting an existing facility,” said Behrman.
According to a Maple Creek daycare feasibility study, licensed child care locations have to meet several criteria. These include:
• Bathrooms equipped with a diapering station as well as small toilets and lowered sinks;
• A minimum of 3.7 square metres of usable space per licensed child care space;
• A sleeping area of at least 2.3 square meters for each infant child care space, separate and apart from the aforementioned usable childcare space;
• A kitchen facility with a window for ventilation;
• Natural lighting in at least 50 per cent of the play space, with windows equalling at least 10 per cent of the usable floor area in those spaces; and
• A safe outdoor play area of at least 7 square metres per child care space, with 50 per cent of this space being adjacent to the centre and the remainder within walking distance.
“The establishment of a licensed childcare facility in Maple Creek is not only feasible, it is vital to ensure the growth and prosperity of the community by providing the essential services that families need to grow roots and prosper,” the study concluded.
“From a financial perspective, the abundance of granting streams provides a very stable, maintainable income stream, while providing affordable, quality care for children.
“It should be noted that once an organization qualifies for a Space Development Grant, they will automatically qualify for the operational support grants. Given Maple Creek’s high need, community engagement, and shortage of care, they should be strong candidates for funding.”