Child care clar­i­fi­ca­tion

Char­lot­te­town coun­cil hears in­put on who can start a home-based child care

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - PROVINCE -

“It could in­ter­fere with snow re­moval. It could in­ter­fere with Is­land Waste Man­age­ment pickup. It could in­ter­fere with first re­spon­ders.” Neil Lawless

Char­lot­te­town City Coun­cil held a pub­lic meet­ing Mon­day on the topic of home-based child care and got an ear­ful of op­po­si­tion.

It all came from one man, city res­i­dent Neil Lawless, who de­liv­ered a lengthy list of prob­lems that child-care busi­nesses cause when op­er­at­ing in res­i­den­tial ar­eas. Coun­cil is try­ing to make a small word­ing change in city by­laws to clar­ify that a per­son can op­er­ate a child-care busi­ness in a home, if they meet all re­quire­ments, whether or not they own or rent the res­i­dence.

Lawless said the change will in­crease the num­ber of places all across the city that might po­ten­tially get ap­proval to op­er­ate a home-based day care.

“Peo­ple buy prop­er­ties, they raise fam­i­lies, they want to re­lax in their back­yard,” said Lawless.

Chil­dren at day cares make a lot of noise which could in­ter­fere with that, he said.

Lawless de­clined to tell coun­cil or The Guardian where he lives but said he has com­plained to the city about a day care near him op­er­ated by peo­ple who rent the res­i­dence.

He warned of park­ing prob­lems from par­ents drop­ping off and pick­ing chil­dren up.

“They are all not go­ing to park in one drive­way,” he said to coun­cil.

“It could in­ter­fere with snow re­moval. It could in­ter­fere with Is­land Waste Man­age­ment pickup. It could in­ter­fere with first re­spon­ders.”

Mov­ing on to an­other is­sue, renters op­er­at­ing a day care won’t take care of the prop­erty to the same de­gree as prop­erty own­ers, said Lawless.

His list of prob­lems with home-based day care was ex­ten­sive, mak­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion just over 20 min­utes long.

“Is there a need by the pub­lic at large in this city to have a neigh­bour­hood day care op­er­ated by pro­pri­etors who do not own the prop­erty?” said Lawless in con­clud­ing his pre­sen­ta­tion.

Roseanne Chev­erie owns a home-based day care in Char­lot­te­town and spoke im­me­di­ately af­ter Lawless.

“I am won­der­ing if you re­al­ize the need for good-qual­ity child care,” Chev­erie said di­rectly to Lawless. “There are not enough day cares avail­able in Char­lot­te­town for peo­ple to go back to work.”

Chev­erie said traf­fic from day cares is prob­a­bly not the prob­lem sug­gested by Lawless.

“Peo­ple that are bring­ing their chil­dren to the in-home day care are prob­a­bly driv­ing slower be­cause they have a child in their ve­hi­cle,” said Chev­erie.

She went on to say that home­based day cares in­crease the value of prop­erty for fam­i­lies.

Coun­cil will con­sider all the com­ments from the meet­ing as it works to bring the mat­ter to a vote at a later time.

NIGEL ARM­STRONG/THE GUARDIAN

Neil Lawless speaks to Char­lot­te­town City Coun­cil Mon­day dur­ing a pub­lic meet­ing on zon­ing is­sues. Lawless said he is strongly op­posed to a clar­i­fi­ca­tion re­gard­ing home-based child care. It al­lows a per­son to op­er­ate a home child care busi­ness whether or not that per­son owns or rents the res­i­dence.

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