Downtown Yellowknife daycare to double its child-care spaces after move

One of Yellowknife's largest daycares hopes to double its child-care spaces to 88 when it moves to a new building and location, potentially next year.

Association plans to build new building just one street away from current location

The association was told by the territorial government in 2014 that it would have to find a new home for the daycare. (CBC)

One of Yellowknife's largest daycares hopes to double its childcare spaces to 88 when it moves to a new building and location, potentially next year.

The Yellowknife Daycare Association, which is currently located on 51 Street, has signed conditional purchase agreements with the owner of three side-by-side lots on 52 Street, across the street from the Hope's Haven youth shelter and the Mary Murphy seniors home.

"We are going to have a large, purpose-built daycare that will help parents in the challenge to find licensed care for their children when returning to work from their parental leave," said Marine Voskanyan, the association's executive director.

While Voskanyan could not say when construction on the new building will begin, she said the daycare hopes to move into its new home in the fall of 2017. A house on one of the three lots is expected to be demolished by the end of August.

The Yellowknife Daycare Association plans to move and build a new downtown daycare at this location on 52 Street. The current house will be demolished. (CBC)

More space for more children

The daycare's current location on 51 Street has space for 44 children between the ages of 12 months and five years.

"The plans for the new daycare include almost two times as many child-care spaces as our existing structure, with almost triple the number of infant spaces," said Voskanyan.

Kris Brekke has a two-year-old daughter at the 51 Street daycare, and his newborn son is already on the wait-list.

"Currently you start thinking about securing a daycare space before your child is born," said Brekke, one half of a double income couple.

"Certainly when you have one in daycare, having the concern that the second child will have a space at daycare or in the same daycare becomes to some degree more important. So to have the expanded space is exciting for us and it provides an opportunity for a greater number of people."

The association has signed conditional purchase agreements with the owner of three lots, two of which are empty. (CBC)

Government spurred move 

The association began looking for a new home for the daycare after the N.W.T.'s Department of Education, Culture and Employment informed the group it was ending the daycare's lease, requiring the daycare to be out of the 51 Street building by July 2016.

But the association has received a reprieve.

"ECE is very supportive and we will remain in our existing location on 52 Street until our new building is ready to move in," Voskanyan.

That decision was a no-brainer, says Brekke

"The implications of not having children in daycare, and not having parents working, is, I think, obvious. I think that's why the solution's progressed to where it is and somewhat quickly."

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