Golden early learning group project now in its second phase

ELCSAG is hoping to some fundraising done to have the plans drawn up for the early learning hub by the end of summer.

The Early Learning and Care Stakeholder Action Group had their fundraising kick-off more than two months ago, and now they are working hard to secure the rest of the funding to draw up the plans for an early learning and care hub.

Project co-ordinator Joanne McCullough sees the project in three phases. The first was the Child Care Feasibility Care Feasibility Study and the hiring of two champions to research possibilities to address the problem.

Right now the project is in the second phase.

“Phase two is fundraising, community support, so getting people behind the project, and getting it up to construction drawings. So that phase will cost about $60,000,” said McCullough.

The third phase will involve fundraising for the $600,000 project, and the actual construction of the facility, which will be built onto Alexander Park Elementary.

School District 6 has become a key strategic partner, and has agreed “in principle” to allow them the space, and absorb the operating costs.

The facility would consist of two identical “pods.” Each would be built as as a licensed child care facility, and would have the capacity for eight children. It would start off with one pod being designated for childcare, with the other a family resource centre. If the need for even more childcare arises, then the family programs can be moved to another facility.

“Politically, people are starting to wake up to the issue of childcare. So our project has good timing,” said McCullough.

The BC Liberals have already pledged $32 million for new child care spaces, and McCullough has spoken with NDP MLA Norm Macdonald, who says his party has also identified child care as a priority, and will commit similar funds to the issue.

Those funds will be sought after in phase three, and in the meantime McCullough is trying to secure the money to complete phase two.

She has already received $18,000 from Columbia Basin Trust, and is hoping to have the construction drawings completed by the end of the summer.

In a perfect world, McCullough would spend the winter fundraising, and have enough to break ground in the spring of 2014.

The Rotary Club of Golden has already donated $25,000 to that phase of the project, and is using that money to leverage international Rotary funds.

“Projects like this take time. If we had the money, we’d be digging in the ground right now, but we don’t,” said McCullough. “But it doesn’t matter how long it takes. If we don’t stop fundraising, then one way or another, this project will get done.”