Is a new daycare on the hori­zon for Bad­deck?

Need for lo­cal ser­vice a long­stand­ing is­sue; seen as vi­tal in keep­ing and at­tract­ing younger fam­i­lies to area

The Victoria Standard - - Front Page - CAROLYN BAR­BER

Re­li­able, af­ford­able daycare could be on the hori­zon in Bad­deck.

Vil­lage res­i­dent and lawyer Matt Hart called a Dec. 10 meet­ing at the Bad­deck Com­mu­nity Cen­tre to gauge in­ter­est for a lo­cal daycare. Hart co-chaired the meet­ing along with Di­rec­tor of Home Sup­port Ser­vices Gwen Jarabek and BOLDCAMPS Board Pres­i­dent Madi­son Green­ing. Twenty-one par­ents, ex­pec­tant par­ents and those con­sid­er­ing par­ent­hood took part in the fo­cus group - among them an RCMP of­fi­cer, a physi­cian, a lawyer, an ac­coun­tant, a tourism op­er­a­tor, gov­ern­ment work­ers, and a for­mer home daycare op­er­a­tor. District #2 Coun­cil­lor Perla Macleod was also present.

Par­ents took turns keep­ing ac­tive tod­dlers oc­cu­pied, while oth­ers rocked sleep­ing in­fants in car seats.

“We have un­til June 11 to get a daycare up and run­ning,” mused Hart, re­fer­ring to the ex­pected ar­rival date of his first child with wife Diane, an ac­coun­tant.

The re­mark drew laugh­ter, though for ev­ery­one gath­ered, the time pres­sure is real. Lack of de­pend­able, ac­ces­si­ble, af­ford­able daycare can be life-al­ter­ing.

Ja­son Chard and Tanya Bol­gar landed full-time em­ploy­ment in Bad­deck with the De­part­ment of Nat­u­ral Re­sources. Their 3-year-old at­tends daycare in Why­co­co­magh, a 30 minute drive away.

Ali­cia Fraser’s daycare dilemma was all-too-fa­mil­iar to those in the cir­cle.

Fraser works full-time at Stone’s Phar­masave in Bad­deck. Her hus­band Craig works for a Syd­ney-based con­struc­tion com­pany. They have two young chil­dren un­der five years of age. After mort­gage and bill pay­ments, gro­ceries, all re­main­ing in­come went to child­care last sum­mer forc­ing them to re-eval­u­ate. Craig took a lay-off in Oc­to­ber to stay home and look after the kids while Ali­cia con­tin­ued to work full-time. Craig will re­turn to work in April 2019. Ali­cia is grate­ful to have a full-time, year-round job with ben­e­fits. For both of them to con­tinue work­ing though, they will need full-day child­care come April.

To vary­ing de­grees, many can rely on ex­tended fam­ily for help. When the help runs out, some have to take time off work. For those with­out nearby fam­ily, there are few, if any, sup­port struc­tures in place.

The meet­ing venue was no ac­ci­dent. Much of the dis­cus­sion re­volved around the vi­a­bil­ity of hous­ing a po­ten­tial daycare in the com­mu­nity cen­tre. Be­yond phys­i­cal lo­ca­tion, dis­cus­sions were floated about fa­cil­ity rent, com­mu­nity col­lab­o­ra­tions, avail­able out­door space, or­ga­ni­za­tional struc­ture, daycare pro­gram­ming, fees, staffing and staff qual­i­fi­ca­tions. All present be­lieved a daycare would help at­tract young fam­i­lies to the area.

The lack of daycare op­tions is a long­stand­ing is­sue for the area. For­mer mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil­lor Athol Grant called a meet­ing in Jan­uary 2013 to de­ter­mine in­ter­est in es­tab­lish­ing a daycare in the Bad­deck area. After view­ing po­ten­tial fa­cil­i­ties, it was felt it would be too oner­ous to ren­o­vate the fa­cil­i­ties to daycare stan­dards. Fam­ily home day­cares ap­peared to be the more vi­able op­tion given pro­vin­cial fund­ing in­cen­tives. One such fam­ily daycare agency op­er­ated briefly in Bad­deck.

Matt Hart is sched­uled to dis­cuss the daycare ini­tia­tive at the Dec. 19 mu­nic­i­pal coun­cil meet­ing.

The next daycare fo­cus-group meet­ing will take place in mid-jan­uary.

Fol­low “Fo­cus Group - Bad­deck Day Care” on Face­book for meet­ing date, time and place.

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