The Kermode Friendship Society has backed away from a plan to build affordable housing in tandem with a daycare centre development on property it owns close to the downtown core.
Earlier this year it was pursuing a bid for provincial financing to add social housing units to the daycare already scheduled for the 4700 block of Park Ave, but has since scaled back its project.
“The intention of that was to see if there were some efficiencies in doing a combined project which would include a daycare and a BC Housing proposal, but at the end of the day there were no efficiencies,” explained the society’s executive director, Cal Albright, last week.
“We’re still very much interested in BC Housing, but we want to make sure we get our daycare underway first,” he said.
The society was recently granted $10,000 from the city’s Affordable Housing Fund to advance its housing proposal, but it will no longer receive the money now that its housing plan has been shelved.
However it already has $500,000 from a previous Ministry of Children and Family Development grant to help with the construction of a daycare which has an estimated total price tag of $2 million.
An original concept for 62 daycare spaces has now been reduced to 40 spaces to make the project more affordable and include office space.
Albright said the friendship society’s intent is to offer quality affordable daycare.
“It’s going to be a culturally-centered daycare, we need to have an Aboriginal-delivered program for low-income people who live in Terrace,” Albright remarked.
The society estimates it would charge $550 a month for each of 28 spaces for children age three to five and $635-$750 for the 12 spaces reserved for infants under 35 months.
But Kermode hopes to be able to afford to run the daycare by charging parents and guardians no more than the amount they receive in provincial child care subsidies.
One way of doing that is with the financial support of larger corporations and industry to cover remaining costs, Albright said.
“It would be nice if the private sector could come in and see this as a worthy project,” Albright noted.
The society has approached some potential industry partners, but has yet to have any commit.
It already runs a head start preschool for Aboriginal children at no cost to parents with the help of government funding.
The society’s board is now considering its various options for the build.
If it decides the total cost of the daycare development can be sustained through what resources the it already has, construction on the daycare facility could start as early as this fall and finish sometime next year.