Elmira parents concerned about possible closure of child care centre
ELMIRA -- Parents of children who go to a child care centre in Elmira are concerned about daycare spaces in the future.
The Region of Waterloo owns a centre in the area that could be closing in the future. A report released last week recommended the region should shut down all five of the centres it operates in the region.
Keri Linscott said her family is very particular about child care and got a jumpstart on the process.
"Literally I was not even pregnant and I got on the list, because I'm so passionate about getting her into the centre," she said.
One of her kids are already goes to the Elmira Children's Centre, but her four-month-old might not get the chance. It's in danger of closing following a review by regional council.
"They rushed through this report in the middle of a pandemic, and giving parents like a little notice," Linscott said. "It's just really frustrating."
"I want to say it is shameful," another parent, Meghan McKnight, said.
McKnight said she's concerned about the centre's future.
"How far are we going to have to drive to drop a child off at a reliable child care centre?" McKnight said.
If they closures are approved by council on Dec. 2, the first four centres could close by mid-2021. The Elmira facility would close at a later date, as it is the only one located in a public school.
"We will have to work with the school board to have another child care provider," Regional Chair Karen Redman said.
The region operates five child care centres, but oversees 14,000 spaces provided by 67 operators.
If needed, officials said they will work with parents to find alternative options. They added that COVID-19 has made more room.
"We're at about 60 per cent capacity, so there are spaces in the system," Redman said.
But, some parents said they don't want to go elsewhere. They said the centres run by the region offer top-of-the-line care.
"The care that the staff give the kids, the food, the curriculum, the resources," McKnight said.
The region is hosting a public meeting on Nov. 18.
The report said closing the centres would save the region around $6.8 million in annual operating costs, which could then go towards addressing child care affordability and subsidizing care.