Saanich wants to improve the supply of child care in the community and has submitted a joint application with Oak Bay to identify local gaps.
Last week Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes filed a notice of motion asking staff to prepare an application to a grant program from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) administers. The program, worth $3 million dollars, grants up to $25,000 to communities interested in creating new child care spaces over the next 10 years to help fill local gaps in child care services.
Notably, Saanich is submitting this application to the community child care planning grant program with Oak Bay, with both seeking $25,000 each.
The motion, if approved, would set in motion promises by Haynes to improve the supply of daycare spaces in Saanich.
The grant program is the smaller of two provincial programs announced earlier this year that would allow municipalities and regional districts to access nearly $17 million in funding to plan and build licensed child care spaces in partnership with UBCM.
Municipalities that have applied for the planning grant can also apply to the larger funding pot.
The community child care space creation program, valued at $13.7 million, will fund 1,370 new licensed child care spaces, with a focus on infant and toddler care.
Municipal and regional governments will be eligible to receive up to $1 million per project under the terms of the program. While a perennial subject, child care emerged as a distinct issue in municipal politics in recent years. During the last municipal election campaign, Saanich Neighbourhood Place hosted a candidates’ forum dedicated specifically to family issues, including child care.
The City of Victoria has also announced it plans to apply for a $25,000 planning grant, while signalling its intention to apply for additional funding in the future.