Friday, May 26, 2023

Prince Rupert City Council moves forward to relax zoning requirements for Child Care facilities

The Aboriginal Head Start Centre on Prince Rupert Boulevard, one of
a number of Child Care facilities in the city

As part of their initiative to improve the opportunities for the development of Day Care spaces in the community, Prince Rupert City Council took some steps towards changing the zoning bylaws towards where those facilities can locate to.

At their Tuesday Council Session, City Council members provided first and second readings towards a new Bylaw to permit Child Care Facilities in all Public Facilities Zones, waiving the need for a public hearing to the topic.

The Councillors work on the topic came following a report from City staff members Veronika Stewart and Myfannwy Pope that outlined the thinking behind the changes to the zoning regulations.

click to enlarge 

In the past. Council has noted of the need for additional daycare options in the community, observing as to how it has been a key issue towards attracting professionals and other residents to relocate to the community.

Tuesday night's discussion to the topic found Council much in agreement towards that goal of more Daycare spaces. 

Councillor Barry Cunningham did have some concerns towards a wide reaching roll out for the facilities.

"We need child care, we need it in a big way. My only concern with this is, opening up all residential areas to child care, especially if some people are talking about 24 hour child care centres. 

And by opening up residential areas or two or three.  Are we still going to be ale to have the neighbours have a say in their  neighbourhood, whether they want a child care next door to their house or not.

Or with this change in the zoning, carte blanche"

In response, both Ms. Pope and Ms. Stewart observed that the province has overview on Day Care licensing, Ms. Stewart adding that the bylaw change would still allow for comment.

"As part of the zoning bylaw amendment folks could still come forward and make their opinions about potentially having childcare facilities in that RM, multi family residential zones known through that process

Councillor Wade Niesh was fully in support of the city's zoning ambitions for daycare.

"I think reality is that most child care centres are already in residential areas as it is and I would think that most are going to be small numbers of people, so I don't anticipate this being a big impact on most neighbourhoods. 

And if it is, it's for a couple of minutes dropping off in the morning and a couple of minutes picking up at the end of the day,.

I wouldn't anticipate you know a child care centre where there's fifty or sixty kids or something where it's huge in a residential areas, so I have no issue with this"

Councillor Cunningham did note of his concerns over the potential for large scale operations if desired by a proponent, Councillor Adey countered that with an observation that he believed Provincial regulations provided for limits.

Councillor Niesh praised a local centre the Aboriginal Head Start on Prince Rupert Boulevard which has been successful in the community for years.

Councillor Skelton Morven also endorsed the plans by the city noting how it removed barriers in the community towards Child Care.

The full discussion of the topic can be reviewed from the City's Video archive starting at the 59 minute mark.

As part of Tuesday's session, Council members also reviewed a letter from Friendship House which is making its own plans for a Child Care centre in the near future. The City approving a request for a letter of support towards their plans. 

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More notes related to Tuesday's Council Session can be reviewed here.

A wider overview of Council discussion themes is available from our Council Discussion archive

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