The provincial government is investing in 181 new childcare spaces in Surrey.
The spaces are part of four new projects, including 36 spaces for the City of Surrey, 20 spaces for Sowing Seeds Preschool, 37 spaces at St. George Malankara Orthodox Church and 88 spaces within the Surrey school district, according to a release from the Ministry of Children and Family Development Thursday (June 25).
Strawberry Hill Hall will be turned into a new childcare centre, which will be run by the City of Surrey. It is expected to be open by January 2021.
Eighteen spaces will be for before- and after-school care, and 18 will be for children aged three to five.
At Sowing Seeds,which is at Faith Evangelical Lutheran Church, the 20 new spaces will be for school-aged children. The spaces are expected to be available by fall.
The church already operates 20 existing preschool spaces.
St. George Malankara Orthodox Church is building a new assembly hall that will allow for the 37 new spaces. Twelve of those will be infant and toddle spaces, and 25 will be for children aged three to five.
It is expected to be open by winter 2021.
The school district is partnering with a non-profit organization to build a new childcare centre at Erma Stephenson Elementary school. It is expected to be open for the 2021-22 school year.
Of the 88 spaces, 40 will be for preschool-aged children and 48 for before- and after-school care.
The funding is through the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund, and the ministry added that the 181 spaces were first announced in March of the 13,000 spaces funded since July 2018.
The ministry added that as B.C. moves toward its “new normal” under COVID-19, childcare capital builds “may see unexpected delays.”
Once the spaces are open and operational, childcare providers will be requires to follow guidelines set out by the Ministry of Health and the BC Centre for Disease Control “to keep staff and the families they serve safe and to limit the risk on transmission.”