Hundreds of families left without child care after Maple Ridge building floods

Friday's severe rain and hail storm caused contaminated water to enter the building, which also houses the Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre.

Severe rain and hail Friday caused contaminated water to enter the building

'Having no child care out here, it’s hard. You have to do what’s best for your kids, you’ve got to put on a good show sometimes,' said Julie Lanyon. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

Hundreds of families in Maple Ridge, B.C., will be scrambling Monday to find care for their young children after a daycare and child development centre were flooded Friday during a severe storm. 

The Start Smart Child Care Centre serves about 200 families who rely on it for infant care, daycare, preschool and before- and after-school care.

The adjoining Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre offers early intervention services to about 400 families. 

But the building, on Dewdney Trunk Road, was so badly damaged by the rain and hail during Friday's storm that it will remain closed for at least two to three months. 

"Basically, the entire building has been flooded — other than a few spaces — with black water, so contaminated water," said Trish Salisbury, executive director of the Ridge Meadows Child Development Centre. 

"All of the carpeting and flooring is going to be removed, as well as major parts of walls that have absorbed [water]. A lot of our equipment has also been damaged. And in the daycare they've lost cribs, they've lost toys, furniture." 

"It's a very hard hit … for 600 families in this community who are going to have their services limited, if not stopped for a while," she said.

'It's stressful'

Ali Dutton has two toddlers who attend the centre, and said she and her husband have been managing the disruption in childcare by taking days off of work.

"It's stressful, because we're just winging it. But I'm more sad, I'm really sad for everybody that's affected and I'm lucky," she said.

"I try not to think about it. I try to stay positive if I can."

Both the daycare and the child development centre are trying to find a suitable spaces where they can operate until repairs are complete. (Megan Thomas/CBC)

Julie Lanyon, whose home also flooded, said she heard at around 5:30 p.m. PT on Friday that the centre was asking parents to pick their children up as soon as possible.

"That was terrifying, because I knew what I was dealing with at home and I could only imagine the teachers and the kids here, so that was super scary," she said.

"Having no child care out here, it's hard. You have to do what's best for your kids, you've got to put on a good show sometimes."

Salisbury's child development centre offers early intervention services — such as occupational therapy, speech and language services, and physiotherapy — to about 400 families in the area. 

Both the daycare and the child development centre are trying to find a suitable spaces where they can operate until repairs are complete.

With files from Megan Thomas

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