Fifty badly-needed new childcare spaces are coming to North Delta.
On Monday, council gave third reading and final approval to a proposed daycare at The Muse, located at 9015 Scott Road.
The plan is to convert a commercial retail unit at the northeast corner of the property into a childcare facility that would accommodate up to 50 children ranging from infants and toddlers through primary age (three to six years of age) and employ four people.
The facility would consist of 314 square metres (3,380 sq. ft.) of indoor space, plus an adjacent 354 square metre (3,810 sq. ft.) outdoor play area in a what is now part of the building’s above ground parking lot.
A memo to council notes the existing asphalt will be replaced with a new rubberized play surface to accommodate a playground structure and outdoor accessories, including outdoor furniture and seating. Existing fencing and planting islands containing shrubs and trees will be retained, and additional planter boxes will be added to further delineate the outdoor play area and act as a safety barrier.
Also, a variety of shrubs and trees in planters within the play area will provide shade and a “greener environment.”
“The ideal situation for us here is that we’re not waiting for this to be built — the building is already there for a tenant to occupy. So we will be able to look and see how this is going in order that we can determine whether or not other commercial areas should be used for this kind of occupation,” Mayor George Harvie said Monday afternoon.
“The key on any of these is the operators, so I’m hoping that we have a very good operator.”
A report by city staff notes that Delta’s Childcare Needs Assessment identified North Delta as having a high need for childcare spaces for kids aged three to five. Further, Delta’s Childcare Strategy and Action Plan, approved on May 11, 2020, set a goal of adding 1,051 childcare spaces over the next 10 years to reach the Canadian average of 27.2 spaces per 100 children, with a focus on space for infants, toddlers and school-age children.
“According to the research findings presented in the childcare strategy, there is a demonstrated need for childcare in North Delta for children both aged 0 to 2 and 3 to 5, and that North Delta is most underserved for childcare spaces in the age range compared to Ladner and Tsawwassen,” the report states.
Coun. Dylan Kruger, who chairs Delta’s Community Liveability Advisory Committee, told council he hopes the project’s approval will encourage many more similar applications as the city strives to meet the targets set in the Childcare Strategy and Action Plan.
“We’ve got, just in North Delta alone, over 8,000 children, yet only 1,188 childcare spaces,” Kruger said, citing Delta’s Childcare Strategy and Action Plan, “so it’s a huge consideration.”
“I hope that we can send a message to other existing commercial uses that in fact they can be transformed and retrofitted into daycare spaces, because we need it and most of it is going to come from our existing buildings.”