Only licensed full-day daycare in Queens County at risk of closing

The Queens Day Care Association must move out of a former school building in Liverpool, N.S., by June 2019.

Queens Day Care Association must find new site by June 2019 after municipality declares building surplus

The Queens Day Care Association is located in a former school building in Liverpool (Submitted by Tarina Risser)

A longtime daycare in Liverpool, N.S., is at risk of closing after learning it will have to vacate the former school building its called home for more than 20 years. 

The Queens Day Care Association is the only licensed, non-profit daycare facility in the county. It's housed in the former Mount Pleasant School building, which also includes several other non-profits and a food bank.

Daycare co-director Tarina Risser said her organization will have to move by June 2019. The municipality, which owns the building, is finding upkeep too expensive and has declared it surplus. 

Risser said the facility is the only daycare in the region that offers full-day programs for children. It is usually at 85 percent capacity, she said, with 16 spots for preschoolers and 12 for toddlers.

Utilities at the former school are covered by the municipality and rent is minimal, which has allowed the daycare to keep its costs low.

"To purchase a new building, that's out of the question for us, and really, we would need another regional space to keep the costs low," Risser said.

Risser said a new location would also have to meet a number of provincial regulations, including an accessible outdoor space and adequate storage space. 

David Dagley, the mayor of the Region of Queens Municipality, said tenants of the former school have been given two years notice, and the municipality will help them move to a new space.

The Department of Education and Early Childhood Education said in an email that it's also working with the daycare operator to find a solution.

Queens County was also identified as one of 11 jurisdictions where new child-care centres will be opened as part of $8.9-million announcement last month, although it's not yet clear which operators will receive the money.

Daycare 'really important'

Liverpool mother Melissa Belkin said that for her family, Queens Day Care was a way into the community when her son started attending programs there.

"Queens Day Care is really important to our life," she said. "I used it initially as a means to help my son socialize because we were new in town. It's become a place that he loves to go to."

She said she's hoping that the daycare can find a new home so that her daughter will be able to have the same experience. 

With files from CBC's Information Morning