'I'm done': Child-care operator calls it quits after being asked to move a 3rd time
Daycare providers in Kamloops frustrated by a lack of locations
Krystal Jeffrey would love to keep operating her home-based daycare in Kamloops. B.C., but she can't handle the thought of finding a new location.
During the five years she's been operating, she's already been forced to move twice when her previous landlord's needs changed.
When her current landlord gave notice earlier this year that she would have to find a new location, she decided that going through the process of finding a fourth location was not worth the hassle.
"I'm done. I'm not willing to do it anymore," she said.
Jeffrey is not alone in struggling to find and keep daycare spaces in the southern Interior city. Another daycare on the city's North Shore closed down at the end of June after the landlord gave just a week of notice.
Meanwhile, the non-profit provider, Children's Circle, is still in the process of securing a new location after it was given notice last fall its current property was going to be turned into a parking lot.
There are also challenges for child-care providers that own their buildings. The Kamloops Child Development Centre has outgrown its current space on the city's North Shore.
Earlier in July, many parents at the centre were given letters telling them there was no guaranteed space for their child once that child ages into another age group.
"It's really horrible to have to tell people that — crying, upset," said Helen Blair, the education director of the Kamloops Child Development Centre.
Parents like Andrew McDiarmid are left wondering what this means for the future.
"It's bad and it's something I'm nervous about," he said. "We love that daycare."
Dedicated parents are part of the reason why the Child Development Centre is exploring the potential of building on its site. They are looking at getting permits from the city and sourcing grant money to pay for a new building, but nothing has been finalized.
City getting involved
The lack of child-care space has not escaped the notice of the City of Kamloops.
Even though child care is the province's jurisdiction, the city has been working on a research project to first establish the existing number of child-care spots in the community and what are some of the barriers to having more spaces in the city — all with the eventual aim of making recommendations to the province.
The city just wrapped up a consultation session with providers in which a lack of physical space was identified as a problem in the community.
"The City of Kamloops does care about its citizens and when we hear these kinds of things, we want to look into them and see what's actually going on," said Kelly MacDonald, the social development co-ordinator with the City of Kamloops.
It's work like this that Lorisa Zazulak is pleased to see happening.
She's just taken over a pre-school and turned it into a daycare. Zazulak says she was lucky to be able to find the space she did because it was nearly impossible to find a location that was both affordable and had access to the outside.
That's why she would like to see the city require spaces for day cares in all new developments.
"As the population grows in Kamloops, the city is going to feel the push and the need to build spaces," she said.
"It'll become mandated because it has to be."