WATCH ABOVE: Mia Sosiak catches up with a Calgary developer building what it says is the largest privately built daycare in Canada.
CALGARY – A local developer is building a 36,000-square-foot daycare centre in southeast Calgary that’s set to be ready in just under a year, but some are concerned as to the level of care it will provide.
“It’s the largest privately-funded childcare in Canada, and it’s something that we saw was a good amenity to add to Quarry Park and the surrounding communities of southeast Calgary,” said Remington Development Corporation’s Cody Clayton.
The Quarry Park Child Development Centre will offer 348 new spaces for kids under the age of 6. Clayton says it’s so big because of demand in the city.
“There’s a real lack of quality childcare in the city of Calgary,” he said.
Some experts argue such large centres feel institutional, because people don’t know each other as well as in small care facilities.
“Our biggest concern, regardless of the size, is that the quality of the childcare is as high as possible,” said Public Interest Alberta’s Joel French. “So related to that, the wages the workers are paid is very important.”
Others say economies of scale can allow for higher staff wages, better equipment and lower parent fees. Alberta removed restrictions on the size of new day care centres during a boom in 2007.
When asked if it’s too big, a YMCA Calgary spokesperson said it was a great question.
“It’s one we really asked ourselves before we entered into conversations with Remington,” said YMCA vice president of children and youth Tanis Cochrane.
The childcare centre will be the biggest centre run by the Calgary YMCA. Teacher-to-child ratios will be respected in a combination of smaller rooms and big group areas, which the YMCA helped design.
The non-profit is also opening a second daycare with just 80 spaces steps away at the Remington YMCA recreation centre. Both facilities are within walking distance of over 2,000 homes in the new southeast community, plus several office buildings full of working moms and dads.
“I hope there’s a wait list, because that would mean that we did a good job in terms of picking the size of the facility,” said Clayton.
The YMCA will begin accepting registrations late in fall 2015, with the first children arriving next summer. For more information or to sign up for email updates about the facility, click here. There are no requirements to register.
With a file from Erika Tucker