Mayor Bill Dingwall and the rest of council put on their seasonal best for the Tuesday night council meeting.

Daycare can stay at Pitt Meadows rec centre

Council decides to change lease with Discovery Playhouse

The Discovery Playhouse Daycare in Pitt Meadows will be allowed to stay at the Family Recreation Centre for the foreseeable future.

The past council had approved a lease agreement that would end in two years, but the new council will allow the daycare facility to continue to operate beyond September 2020.

Woo hoo. That’s my reaction,” said the facility manager, Rachel Hess. “It’s great news.”

She did not have any details about a new lease and will meet next week to discuss them. But she heard council’s decision at Tuesday night’s meeting and was heartened by it.

“As long as mayor [Bill Dingwall] and council feels that way, I’m not worried,” said Hess.

She said the reaction from the 100-plus families who use the daycare was predictable.

“This is wonderful news – mayor and council are actually listening.”

The non-profit offers rates that allow low-income families to accesschildcaree. It has 60 families for pre-school, 24 for daycare and approximately another 24 for before and after-school care.

Daycare is offered there for a charge of $710 per month, and parents can apply for a provincial government subsidy that amounts to $350 per month for children under three, and $100 per month for children aged 3-5.

Council passed a motion to amend the Discovery Playhouse Children’s Society contract to permit a renewal clause, and further to direct staff to continue to explore funding opportunities from senior levels of government to expand childcare spaces in the city.

Because it was a matter dealing with city property, it was discussed in private.

Coun. Bob Meachen told the public that council spent a lot of time in a closed meeting discussing the issue.

“It is far more fair and equitable now, and I am going to support this,” he said.

Dingwall said there was a lot of public feedback about the pending daycare closure during the election campaign.

He said the motion passed on a unanimous vote of council after “a good, healthy discussion.”

Dingwall said staff will continue looking for grant funding, and even collaboration with senior government, to secure additional spaces.

The provincial government has committed to creating 22,000 new child care spaces in B.C. and is investing $221 million over the next three years toward reaching this target.

Local governments have the ability to access up to $1 million in funding to construct child care facilities in municipal buildings and partner with non-profits for operation of such facilities.

The province has a pilot project to model universal child care, with a site chosen in both Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows as prototypes. That program will run from Sept. 1, 2018 until March 31, 2020.

Just Posted

Maple Ridge Ale Trail combines craft beer and the outdoors

The community launch takes place September 21 at the Haney Farmers Market

Maple Ridge’s Ruimy defends embattled prime minister

Racial issue ripples to Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows riding

Aging out of Ministry care, Pitt resident tributes fund for post secondary success

Soraya Bellou is raising awareness for the Youth Futures Education Fund

Purple lights to illuminate the issue of domestic violence in Maple Ridge

Businesses along 224 Street will decorate storefront windows for Sept. 26

Bear conservation group wants higher fines for offenders

Maple Ridge Bears wants $500 penalties and earlier garbage collection

VIDEO: Trudeau asks Canada to look to current, not past, actions on race

Liberal leader says he never spoke about the racist photo because he was embarrassed

Horvat paces Canucks to 6-1 pre-season win over Oilers

Vancouver improves to 3-1 in NHL exhibition action

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

‘Really disturbing:’ Trudeau’s racist photos worry B.C. First Nation chief

Wet’suwet’en Chief concerned the photos will sow fear in Indigenous communities

‘Unacceptable’: What politicians have to say about Trudeau in blackface

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi: ‘When I saw that picture last night, certainly it was a sucker-punch’

‘He’s trying to kill me’: Victoria police commandeer boats to reach screaming woman

No charges laid and civilians to be awarded honours after incident on Gorge Waterway

VIDEO: B.C. man accused of assaulting sex worker loses temper in interrogation

Defence lawyer says statements made by accused Curtis Sagmoen should be deemed inadmissible

John Horgan promises action after fatal mid-Island bus crash

Premier cites students, local Indigneous community as reason to repair the road

Police warn of escalating violence, weapons in Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park

Officers issue statement about high crime in the area that includes a homeless camp

Most Read