daycare kids playing

A Moncton daycare owner says she needs double the number of children to meet her bills. (CBC)

Moncton’s daycare policy, which limits the size of the businesses in residential zones to reduce impact on neighbours, is being challenged.

Eugenie Agbli, the owner of a daycare on Second Avenue, says she's been getting the runaround from city hall.

She says her application to expand her business has been on hold for three years.

Agbli says she needs 30 children to pay her $1,500 mortgage, $2,800 in property taxes and two employees.

But the city put her request on hold while it came up with a new policy for daycares in residential areas.

It imposed a limit of 15 children per daycare as a measure to prevent disturbing neighbours.

Agbli has spent $2,000 just trying to get the paperwork done, she says.

Alex Savoie, her assistant, isn’t impressed with the process.

"I'm disappointed. It's been a three-year process. We've been lied to, pushed aside, stepped on, whatever," said Savoie.

Agbli says 18 of her closest neighbours have signed a petition encouraging her to expand.

Coun. Paulette Thériault says people in Moncton have to become more kid friendly and the policy makes no sense.

"I also have concerns about this whole idea that children and a neighbourhood disturb the neighbourhood," said Thériault.

"I think children are absolutely wonderful — 13, 15, 30 children playing and laughing and making sounds — I can't see how that disturbs a neighbourhood."

Some councillors wanted to stick to the new policy of putting bigger daycares in commercial zones.

But Thériault says she disagrees with that idea.

The city will hold a public hearing on May 26 to see if Agblie’s 30-space daycare can go ahead in the residential area.