Early learning project needs more funds

When the bid for the project went to tender, the lowest proposal was $280,000 over ELCSAG's budget.

After years of planning, gaining support and fundraising, the champions of the Early Learning and Care Centre thought they finally had all the pieces in place a few short months ago. But what was described as a “tight budget” and “changes in the construction market” have left the Early Learning and Care Stakeholder Action Group (ELCSAG) under funded for the project.

Area A Director Karen Cathcart, who has also been a longtime supporter of the centre, appeared before Town Council requesting their  support in contributing Economic Opportunities Fund dollars (a fund that the Town and CSRD jointly control) to the project.

“I’m asking for $165,000 from the EOF for the construction of the Early Years Centre,” said Cathcart, adding that the CSRD board had already approved the request.

ELCSAG was celebrating earlier in the spring when they thought they had the final grant needed to complete the building, which is to be an addition onto Alexander Park Elementary. Unfortunately when the project went to tender, the lowest bid to come in was $280,000 over their budget.

They are currently making some cuts where they can, and are hoping the money from the EOF will be enough.

Council approved the money, which is essentially draining the EOF leaving only a few thousand dollars left. It will, however, be replenished later in the summer with roughly $340,000.

They did not come to the decision lightly, as many were concerned that $165,000 still wouldn’t be enough to complete the project.

“I just don’t want to see this coming back to us in a couple of months,” said Coun. Caleb Moss.

ELCSAG had already received $80,000 in EOF funds earlier this year, bring the total to $245,000.