The Musgrave field near École Willows Elementary School is the proposed site for daycare facilities, but some neighbours are concerned and are fighting against the proposal. (File Photo)

‘No work shall proceed’ on Oak Bay childcare spaces until more consultation completed, says school district

District looking at ‘potential alernatives’ for proposed childcare facilities at Willows Elementary

Greater Victoria School District 61 is still examining different options for childcare studios at École Willows Elementary after neighbours expressed concerns about the proposed facilities.

RELATED: Neighbours concerned over lack of Willows School consultations

At the March 11 SD61 board meeting, the District said it is examining potential alternatives to address community concerns and will provide an update after further consultation.

The proposed facilities, brought forward for public consultation in January, included two new fenced off portables built on Willows Elementary School’s field –Musgrave Field.

The facilities would provide eight spaces for children under three-years-old, 20 group child care spaces for kids younger than school-aged and 50 after-school spaces.

A licensee would operate day to day operations and be responsible for maintenance and upkeep.

But neighbours were quick to express concerns at a consultation meeting Jan. 24.

“Kids should not be in portables, it’s just that simple. Making the school grounds into a trailer park is making an eyesore,” neighbour Michael Yakubowich told Black Press for a Feb. 4 article.

An online petition called ‘Stop destruction of Musgrave field AND support childcare!’ says “more childcare spaces are definitely needed in the Oak Bay area, BUT Willow School’s Musgrave field is the WRONG location.”

It says the buildings would destroy a field needed for students and the community and increase traffic in the area.

The ‘solutions’ listed include relocating the project to the sites of the former Uplands Elementary School or Richmond Elementary School.

Over 200 people have signed the petition as of 5 p.m. on Tuesday, but the number is growing steadily.

Lise Johnson, a co-organizer of the petition, emphasized that the movement isn’t about saying no to child care – it’s about considering other options.

“When you remove public green space like that, you never get it back and its a shame to take that step when you don’t need to,” she said. “What we want is for the school district to commit to looking at the alternative sites.”

District staff said they were looking at potential alternatives at Monday’s board meeting, board chair Jordan Watters told Black Press. But the funding has already been approved, specifically for Willows Elementary School.

“We’ve definitely heard the community’s concerns,” she said, adding the District will seek funding for childcare at Richmond, but “there’s no application at this time and [they] couldn’t transfer the [application] at Willows, it’s just not how it works.”

“We certainly do recognize how important green space is.”

Watters said consultations will continue. “Staff are working on some alternatives to mitigate concerns. We’re hearing from the community but we also hear from parents who very badly want quality child care.”

She said an update will be provided before spring break, March 18-29.

RELATED: Childcare expansion: Willows School field would be divided



nina.grossman@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Voters in Saanich North and the Islands, here lining up outside Sidney’s Mary Winspear Centre on the first day of advanced voting, are among the provincial leaders in getting in their votes early, with some 20 per cent (10,174) of eligible voters have already cast their ballots. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
It’s Election Day in B.C.: Here’s what you need to know to vote

B.C.’s snap election has already broken records for advance voter turnout, mail-in ballots

Shay Baker, 17, hasn’t been seen or heard from since Oct. 21 and is wanted on outstanding warrants. (Victoria Police Department)
Victoria police searching for high-risk missing youth

Shay Baker, 17, is wanted on outstanding warrants

Plastic Ocean by Oak Bay resident Gabriela Hirt is in the Federation of Canadian Artist’s “Crisis” exhibition on now in Vancouver. (Gabriela Hirt/cropped to fit)
Oak Bay artist wins juried show in Vancouver

Pair of Oak Bay artists part of ‘Crisis’ exhibition

The M’akola Housing Society is looking to build two new residences in Sooke to help provide affordable accommodation for local Indigenous people. The projects were granted nearly $1.1 million toward their construction through the Regional Housing Trust Fund. (Photo courtesy M’Akola Housing Society)
Regional Housing First Program strikes another chord in Greater Victoria

Affordable housing partnership grants will help house over 100 people on income assistance

Online reservation service, First Table, allows Victoria diners to have dinner at half-price if they’re willing to be flexible about when they go. (Black Press Media file photo)
New reservation service allows Victoria residents to dine out at half price

First Table gives Victoria diners 50 per cent off when they book tables during off-peak hours

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Advance polls are open from Oct. 15 to 21 with election day on Oct. 24. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Liberals Leader Andrew Wilkinson, BC Greens Sonia Furstenau, BC NDP John Horgan (The Canadian Press photos)
British Columbians vote in snap election called during COVID-19 pandemic

At dissolution, the NDP and Liberals were tied with 41 seats in the legislature, while the Greens held two seats

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

White Rock RCMP Staff Sgt. Kale Pauls has released a report on mental health and policing in the city. (File photos)
White Rock’s top cop wants to bill local health authority for lengthy mental-health calls

‘Suggestion’ included in nine-page review calling for ‘robust’ support for healthcare-led response

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Green party Leader Sonia Furstenau arrives to announce her party’s election platform in New Westminster, B.C., on October 14, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. Green party says it’s raised nearly $835,000 in 38 days

NDP Leader John Horgan is holding his final virtual campaign event

U.S. border officers at the Peace Arch crossing arrested two men on California warrants this week. (File photo)
Ottawa predicts system delays, backlogs unless court extends life of refugee pact

Canada and the United States recognize each other as safe places to seek protection

The possibility of the Canadian Premier League expanding to the Fraser Valley has been floated online. (Facebook photo)
Canadian Premier League possibly eyeing Fraser Valley expansion

Soccer league looking to add ninth team to the mix, B.C. markets potentially rumoured

Most Read