Colleen Hobson, executive director of Saanich Neighbourhood Place, is working on plans for a facility that will offer 25 full-time preschool and 24 infant toddler spaces. (file photo)

Colleen Hobson, executive director of Saanich Neighbourhood Place, is working on plans for a facility that will offer 25 full-time preschool and 24 infant toddler spaces. (file photo)

Saanich council clears path for new daycare facility

Creation of subdivision allows funding agreement for 49 new daycare spaces

Plans for a new Saanich daycare are back on track.

Saanich council Monday formally severed the future site of the proposed daycare from Pearkes Recreation Centre to help Saanich Neighbourhood Place secure financing.

Colleen Hobson, executive director of Saanich Neighbourhood Place (SNP), said creating a separate parcel helps SNP secure the necessary funding by serving as collateral.

Hobson said the approved subdivision neither changes the functional details nor the prior approval of the building. Council had issued a development permit in August 2017 for the facility creating 25 full-time preschool and 24 infant toddler spaces in a single-storey building next to the Pearkes Recreation Centre, where Saanich Neighbourhood Place has been operating since 1993.

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It is not clear how this development will impact the project. While SNP will likely not have to re-tender the project, Hobson could not give a firm completion date.

“We were all set to go, when we found out that we needed as part of the funding agreement to come back to council for the subdivision permit,” she said. “So the plan is that we should be able to be completed and within the building in eight months, depending on timing. We are not exactly sure.”

Prior estimates set the project cost at $1.9 million.

Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes praised the work of Hobson. “It’s good to see Saanich provide more daycare spaces through your work,” he said.

Monday’s vote now clears the path for a tripartite agreement between District of Saanich, Saanich Neighbourhood Place and Island Savings.

Hobson’s appearance in front of council was her last in her current role before assuming a new position with the Ministry of Children and Family Development. Hobson had been with Saanich Neighbourhood Place since 1993 in various roles, and Haynes publicly congratulated her on her new position.

“It must be a special moment today that your last piece of work sees this bit completed after the long route here,” he said.

Hobson thanked Haynes, but promised that she would be back in helping to guide the project.

“That sounds like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the Terminator,” joked Haynes.


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