NDP caucus hands out two more treats before leaving town

A grateful Karen Greig, Manager of the Osoyoos Child Care Centre, thanks provincial Minister of Children and Family Development Katrine Conroy for $900,000 in expansion funding delivered Tuesday. Parent and centre board member Sonia Rezka also shared her gratitude.

The project-dripping visit that was a provincial NDP caucus visit to Osoyoos wrapped up Tuesday with two additional funding announcements — providing for an addition to the Osoyoos Child Care Centre and improvements to a multi-use pathway in the east end of the community.

The first came when Katrine Conroy, B.C.’s Minister of Children and Family Development, and Katrina Chen, the provincial Minister of State for Child Care, visited with Town officials and staff at the largest of the community’s three licensed child care facilities and delivered $900,000 in funding.

“Our intention is to expand our building,” said manager Karen Greig. “We often see that toddlers and infants don’t mix because toddlers are busy exploring and the little ones sometimes get stepped on, unfortunately.

“We’ll separate the space but being able to use it outdoors, creating some much-needed storage and just developing some more programs.

The funding is expected to add 18 new licensed child care spaces to the Centre — the first expansion since the centre opened more than 20 years ago.

That will allow the centre to add eight spaces for infants and toddlers, and 10 for children aged three years to kindergarten.

This expansion will take the total number of spaces to 61, an increase of more than 40%.

“We know that families in towns across the province are struggling to find licensed child care spots, and that one of the best ways to solve the space shortage is to work with local governments,” said Ms. Chen.

“That’s why we’re so encouraged to see towns, like Osoyoos, leveraging grants from Victoria and Ottawa to create new spaces for their communities. We need all three levels of government to work together for universal child care.”

The Osoyoos Child Care Centre has strong relationships with community organizations, which it uses to connect families to local wraparound services.

The centre is also working closely with the Osoyoos Indian Band to teach children about local Indigenous culture and language.

The expansion is expected to be complete within the next two years.

“We believe access to licensed, good quality child care is something that all B.C. parents deserve. It should not matter if you live in a large or small community,” said Ms. Conroy.

“This project is an excellent example of what can be achieved when you mix federal and provincial funding with municipal planning and local know-how. It is what the future of child care can look like, and I know it can’t come soon enough for parents.”

Multi-use path to link Lakeshore and Cottonwood

Later Tuesday, the the provincial roadshow moved to Lakeshore Drive where Spencer Spencer Chandra Herbert, MLA for Vancouver West-End, stood in for Claire Trevena, the provincial Minister of Transportation and Infrastructure, and announced $70,000 in funding that will deliver 400 metres of paved, multi-use pathway between Lakeshore Drive and Cottonwood Drive.

The upgrade will connect with existing paths, creating a continuous 10-kilometre route that will make it easier for people to commute through town.

The new section will be separate from Hwy. 3, creating a safe barrier between active transportation commuters and vehicles.

“Cycling and walking are great ways to stay active and are more affordable and environmentally friendly ways to get to work, school and community events,” said Mr. Chandra Herbert. “Our government is pleased to partner with the Town of Osoyoos to help make this safe cycling and walking route a reality to benefit both residents and visitors.”

“The Town of Osoyoos welcomes this multi-use safe pathway that joins Lakeshore Drive to Cottonwood Drive,” said Mayor Sue McKortoff in a statement.

“With the increase in healthy family activities, this is the missing link to enable locals and visitors to bike safely around town.”

The pathway was made possible through the BikeBC program that cost shares cycling infrastructure projects with local governments to encourage healthy living and to help address climate change.

This year, 29 grants were awarded to communities throughout the province. The Town of Osoyoos received $68,608 for the project.

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