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Proposed daycare in Baie-D’Urfé sparks mixed reactions from residents

Click to play video 'Location of new daycare facility has Baie D’Urfe residents on edge' Location of new daycare facility has Baie D’Urfe residents on edge
Residents of Baie d'Urfé are on the fence over the location of a new daycare. As Global's Tim Sargeant explains, residents need to choose from four locations but the final decision rests on the town council – Aug 7, 2019

While the idea of a new daycare coming to a town is often welcomed by residents, a proposed child care centre is causing some controversy in Baie-D’Urfé in Montreal’s West Island.

Several residents oppose the construction of a publicly-funded daycare that could house up to 80 children.

Eric Lillie argues an extension to the existing Whiteside Taylor daycare is all that is needed.

“If we need a daycare, it is maybe 20 spots max. I don’t see how we need 80. We will end up over time subsidizing people from other towns to come here and use it,” Lillie told Global News.

His wife, Diane Perdue Lille, says she fears the loss of green space and the cutting of trees that would result if a new daycare is built — especially at one of the proposed locations across from the Whiteside Taylor.

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“I’ve lived around here for 26 years and this park is spectacular. It’s considered a heritage site and I think the development here would be an atrocity,” Diane Perdue Lille said.

READ MORE: Controversy swirls in Baie-D’Urfé over proposed daycare

Town council has submitted a survey with four proposed locations for homeowners to choose from for a new daycare.

All of them are on existing greenspace but the mayor argues while some of that space will be lost with the construction of a new building — it’s minimal compared to the overall amount of greenspace in Baie-D’Urfé.

“With the amount of greenspace that we have, we would lose less than one percent of the greenspace we have,” Mayor Maria Tutino told Global News.

Tutino insists Whitside Taylor is full with dozens of children waiting to get in. She says most of the spaces in a new daycare would be reserved for local residents.

In neighbouring Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, there are two public daycares. Beaconsfield has one daycare while Kirkland and Pointe-Claire each have three.

According to the 2016 census, there are 125 children between the ages of zero to four living in Baie-D’Urfé.

READ MORE: Child care costs in Canada: The most and least expensive cities

Linda Macpherson says there are several young families living on her street. She welcomes a new daycare for the town.

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“It will encourage young families to move into the area if you got daycare. It’s an important part of what families need,” Macpherson said.

The results of the survey and a council vote on the future location is expected at a meeting next week.