There will be over 1,000 additional childcare spaces within the City of Vancouver by 2021, which exceeds the municipal government’s original four-year goal.
It was announced today by Mayor Gregor Robertson that the necessary funding raised from property developers to achieve the target has been finalized. This funding is generated by development cost levies, community amenity contributions, and cash or in-kind contributions provided by developers when the municipal government approves rezoning applications.
The goal in the 2015-2018 Capital Plan was to create 1,000 new childcare spaces, and to date there have been a total of 1,064 additional childcare spaces committed. Approximately 75% of the new spaces were made possible by developers through their fees.
However, only 374 childcare spaces are in operation as the vast majority are still in various stages of development, with the expectation they will mostly be open by 2021.
“We’ve taken big steps to make sure that more families have access to high-quality, affordable childcare – our investment of $30 million in the last capital plan was ten times the amount set aside in 2008,” said Robertson.
“Making sure that families have access to affordable childcare is a key part of building a healthy, inclusive city and helps set our kids up for success now and down the road.”
The city says there are also opportunities to include new childcare facilities as part of the five public schools currently undergoing seismic renovations.
As well, the municipal government has taken some creative approaches with building new childcare spaces, specifically its own proposal to build a 74 child capacity facility on the rooftop of its city-owned parkade at 150 Water Street in Gastown.
The current City Council is also considering including a new target of a further 1,000 childcare spaces for the 2019-2022 Capital Plan, which will be deliberated in late-July.
The city’s ambitious childcare strategy aligns with the provincial government’s $1-billion, 3-year Childcare BC program announced earlier this year. As part of the program, the government is spending $237 million to build over 2,000 new licensed childcare spaces.