A Highlands daycare was chosen for the province’s $10-a-day pilot but some parents are questioning if other West Shore daycares should be involved in the pilot as well.
Lexie’s Little Bears’ Child Care Inc. charges families about $1,600 per month ($80 per day) for daycare services. The facility sits on four acres of land and uses modern, nature-based techniques from Italy.
For the next 18 months, parents using daycare services there will have to pay a maximum of $200 per month.
Alexandra Garford, a mother living in the West Shore, calls the daycare a “cream of the crop” centre and she said the price tag goes along with it. However, Garford said she couldn’t afford to put her child there and said that is the case for many average-income families in the area.
“If you can afford to spend $1,600 per month to send your child to, admittedly what sounds like a wonderful daycare, then you do not need the $10-a-day daycare,” Garford said.
Garford said most daycares in the area average at about $50 to $60 per day and even that, for some parents, is expensive.
“It’s the Rolls Royce of daycares in the West Shore … and now it’s $10-a-day,” Garford said. “That’s much cheaper than my part-time daycare.”
Garford said while she’s happy for Lexie’s Little Bears’ Child Care Inc., she hopes the pilot is successful so it can spread to more daycares and help more families.
Catherine Laurie, another mother who lives in the Highlands area, had similar thoughts to Garford.
“We work hard, we make average salaries … housing is expensive, taxes are expensive and then you see a daycare get benefits that they don’t need,” Laurie said. “I don’t blame the parents but I do believe the pilot is very flawed if that’s who [the province] ended up picking.”
The provincial government chose 53 daycares across B.C. to test the $10-a-day model. The daycares taking part were selected based on more than 300 applications sent in June.
Laurie said she thinks rather than having centres apply for the pilot funding, individual parents should instead. That way the money is going directly to people who need it.
“It should be more about the families, not the centre,” Laurie said.
Lexie Biegun, owner of Lexie’s Little Bears’ Child Care Inc., said a range of families from all income levels use her daycare services.
“However, I will say that given the amount of time, money and effort we have put into Little Bears’, I would consider it a high-end daycare,” Biegun said.
Biegun said she is unsure why her daycare was chosen for the pilot over others but she said the place is her entire life’s work.
She is also hoping the pilot is successful so more daycares can receive this funding.
“I will do my best job,” Biegun said. “This is the starting point.”