Effective June 30th, 2020, the City of Grande Prairie will no longer operate daycare services at Dave Barr Community Centre, or lease the space. Instead, it will give them up for someone else to potentially take over.
“With daycare and childcare at Dave Barr, there are others in the community that provide a similar type of service, so a decision was made that will let them provide it and we can cease to do that,” says Community Services Director Arlen Miller.
In September, the City sent a letter to parents who access childcare at the centre to let them know that they were reviewing how they offer services, as well as looking into leasing the space to a private provider. At that time, several users expressed concern about the suddenness of the news and a lack of consultation.
The city took over operations of childcare at the centre a few years ago when they reported seeing an increased need in the area. Miller says the decision to stagger the closure into summer 2020 was to try to limit the potential stress faced by families who currently use the program.
“It corresponds with the school year as well, so a lot of people do utilize childcare for children who are not yet school-aged, and it works well for that. We are trying to do it in consideration of the families, clients, and staff.”
While he was unable to provide specifics, Miller says the money saved from the city backing out of the program be used elsewhere.
“We are subsidizing it, so we feel it is a good business decision to let others provide it, and we will use our funding for other priorities in the city.”
It is not yet known what the daycare space at the Dave Barr Community Centre will be used for after the program ceases operation.