Officials at Stepping Stones Daycare in Grande Prairie say everything is business as usual despite their proximity to what people are calling tent city. The daycare is located on 100 Avenue beside Rotary House and those camping just outside its doors.
Day Care Society Executive Director Karla Lindstrom says it’s really not as bad as people make it seem on social media.
“I think there’s a lot of misconceptions on what is happening over here. We don’t actually on the daily see more than just people camping. The odd time you might hear voices get a little louder, people arguing but for the most part it’s just business as usual, every day.”
Despite that, she says she has previously found people, needles and stolen vehicles on their property.
In order to protect the staff and children from those things, Lindstrom says a number of safety measures have been taken including doing daily playground checks and working closely with members of Northreach Society’s Street Outreach team.
Since the measures have been in place, she says they have not seen drug paraphernalia or people on their property in the last three months.
“The measures that we’ve taken here in terms of protection and just making sure that there is no opportunity for somebody to experience harm or trauma; those are protective measures that we’ve put in place and most of them we have not had to use yet.”
Lindstrom wants people to know that the things they have experienced aren’t just because of their location.
“For us being right here close to the emergency shelter, I would say that we may have more exposure here but there’s also exposure all over our city.”
For people who may still be concerned about the daycare’s location, Lindstrom encourages them to come in and speak to her directly during regular business hours.