Preschool could leave Leisure Centre

Golden Ears looking for a new space as city conducts review.

  • Mar. 8, 2016 6:00 a.m.

The Golden Ears Preschool Association will be looking for a new home when their lease expires at the Maple Ridge Leisure Centre, where it has been for the past 14 years.

But finding a new place will not be easy and will mean higher fees for parents.

A review of the Leisure Centre this spring could see other uses found for the preschool space.

And even if the review says the space should continue to be used for a pre-school, Golden Ears is already looking for a new location so it knows it will have something by September.

Golden Ears Preschool Association chairman Blake Whitelaw said that having a preschool in the Leisure Centre provides a convenient location and helps low-income families use the recreation space without having to travel.

The central location also means parents who don’t have cars can get to the school, the Leisure Centre, as well as the library.

The preschool was formed 28 years ago, when the city asked parents to take over running a non-profit preschool from the city. The current lease is $674 a month.

“Most cities in Greater Vancouver provide a space in city-owned community centres for preschools to operate from,” Whitelaw said in a letter to Maple Ridge council.

“If the city continues with the current process, Maple Ridge would be one of the few who does not. That would be a shame considering how few dedicated preschool spaces there are downtown.”

Meanwhile, the school is still taking registrations for next year because if it delays, it will lose students to other schools.

Whitelaw said the association is asking the city to give the school a one-year grace period so that it can make plans to relocate.