Fraser Region Aboriginal Friendship Centre will be operating an Indigenous child care centre in Whalley with the approval for rezoning from council.
Surrey city council approved a rezoning duplex to Comprehensive Development Zone from Duplex Residential Zone and Single Family Residential Zone during the Dec. 16 council meeting.
It will repurpose an existing fourplex building at 14306/14308 108th Ave., with an outdoor play area on the south side of the building. A parking lot will be on the adjacent lot at 14290 108th Ave.
Both sites are owned by the City of Surrey.
There are no building additions or exterior improvements planned at this time, according to the report.
The O’siem Village child care centre will be operated by FRAFCA, and will provide child care at no cost for 24 Indigenous infants and toddlers.
A report from staff states that the centre will help address the growing need for child care in the city and will help minimize “existing gaps in service provision, particularly for Indigenous children.”
It will be funded by the Aboriginal Head Start Initiative under the Public Health Agency of Canada.
“The child care program is designed to enhance the spiritual, emotional, intellectual and physical wellbeing of Indigenous children living in urban communities,” the report states.
The outdoor play area will be a nature-themed playground that will include “culturally sensitive structures to maximize outdoor play opportunities for children.”
Surrey urban Indigenous population is the fastest-growing in B.C., according to a report from staff. The Surrey Indigenous community also “experiences one of the highest children and youth poverty rates in the region.”
With the approval for the rezoning, FRAFCA will now have to apply for a tenant improvement permit for modifications inside the fourplex to “ensure the child care centre will meet the licensing requirements of Fraser Health as well as BC Building Code requirements.”
FRAFCA’s website says that as an organization, it is “often a first point of contact for Indigenous people seeking services and supports.”
It says FRAFCA works in a “culturally relevant and safe way, honouring the diverse lived experiences of Indigenous people.”
FRAFCA’s approach and philosophy is to “bridge the best of both Western and Traditional knowledge to provide a place of support, healing and advocacy.”
For more information about FRAFCA, visit frafca.org.