British Columbia

Downtown Eastside daycare closing after failing to meet city grant requirements

The Phil Bouvier Family Centre Daycare is closing after all, months after initially announcing its closure and then nearly being saved by a city grant.

Phil Bouvier Family Centre Daycare will close in November

The Vancouver Native Health Society announced the closure of the Phil Bouvier Family Centre Daycare in June, citing financial hardship. It will close its doors for good in November. (CBC)

A Downtown Eastside daycare is closing for good after failing to meet the requirements for a city grant that may have kept the centre afloat.

In June, the Vancouver Native Health Society (VNHS) announced the closure of the Phil Bouvier Family Centre Daycare, citing financial hardship. The move upset parents and prompted the province and city to intervene.

The City of Vancouver offered a $42,000 child-care grant to the centre a month later, but the relief was short-lived.

On Wednesday, the city said the VNHS, which runs the centre, hadn't met the conditions to get the funding after all.

A statement said VNHS needed to give the city a transition plan as well as an updated budget for 2018, which wasn't done.

The daycare centre is now set to close for good in November.

Melissa Albolay, who has 12 children, was tearful after hearing the news.

"We're sad because we need the daycare," she said. "I've been on all the lists. There's no daycares available."

Melissa Albolay, who has 12 children, says she hasn't been able to find another daycare in the city.

Building owner on the hook

The 49-space centre opened 10 years ago. It's one of only two downtown that caters to First Nations needs.

The VNHS declined to comment about the lost grant on Wednesday, saying its executive director is out of the city until September.

The Central City Foundation (CCF) owns the building in which the daycare centre has been run.

The foundation was approved for a $200,000 grant to renovate the centre in 2007, on the condition that it remain a childcare facility for at least 15 years.

The city said CCF will need to find another daycare operator to replace the VNHS society, or else the foundation will need to repay the grant.

With files from Micki Cowan

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