Labour dispute extends summer camps into fall

Many parents concerned over childcare should classes not resume in September

With no end in sight in the B.C. teachers strike, many parents have raised concerns over childcare should classes not resume in September.

To alleviate parents’ concerns, the City of Victoria will be carrying over some of its summertime programming into the usual school season.

After running six summer camps this season, for ages four to 14, Victoria Parks and Recreation recently opened registration for two extended summer camps slated to start Sept. 2, normally the first day of school.

City of Victoria’s youth programmer Ryan Lance said that registration for the camps is already filling up.

“Extending summer camps isn’t typical for us, this is the only year we’ve done it,” Lance said.

If school resumes, registrants will be offered a refund, but in the event that a resolution isn’t made, parents could be seeing the two-week camps continuing deeper into the fall.

“We’re going to be doing as much as we can, but it really depends on staffing,” Lance said. “We’re hoping to continue on for as long as the labour disputes are happening. Right now we’re planning on a week-by-week basis.”

While day camps typically rune from June 30 to the end of summer vacation, the beginning of the labour disputes also saw parents asking for camps to begin early, causing the city to organize camps for June 16, two weeks ahead of schedule.

If the extended summer camps prove necessary, they will be held at the sport hut at Beacon Hill Park, and focus on out trips to places like Mineral World and Butterfly Gardens, as the weather may not allow for typical summer camp activities like swimming.

Camps are open to ages six to eight and nine to 12, and parents can register online at victoria.ca/recreation or by phone at 250-361-0732.