On Tuesday, the city of Vernon and the Greater Vernon Recreation Services hosted an information and consultation session, at which it asked the public for input regarding child care services.
It’s also releasing its preliminary findings from a community survey that was done last November.
The survey was conducted to gather data about current and future child care needs in the greater Vernon area.
The information session was also an opportunity for the city to listen to community members, discuss areas of need and potential solutions.
The survey and the public input session was done to help develop an action plan.
The plan will provide guidance for the creation and expansion of child care facilities over the next 10 years, in the greater Vernon area.
“Now, it’s how do we address this concern,” says Shayne Wright, city of Vernon’s project manager.
“We need facilities and instructors to fill these rooms. That’s the outcome from this plan and this study.”
Local day care operators say not only are there not enough facilities for children, but finding adequate staff is also a challenge.
“We’ve really noticed the difference in staff availability,” said Janine Thiessen, owner of Little Arc Childcare in Vernon. “There’s been an extreme shortage of staff.”
Thiessen says they’ve been able to hire lower qualified staff, but it limits the roles they can hire these people for.
Debbie Inglis, who has operated Mission Mountain Family Daycare for 27 years, said she’s witnessed two other daycare centres on her street close down.
“It’s a sad story, we are in desperate need for childcare spaces in Vernon,” Inglis told Global News, on Tuesday.
“Three months ago, there was three day care centres on my street. At the end of the month, I’ll be the only one.”
Inglis said the other two day care centres closed down due to strict licensing regulations.
The city said it hopes it can to begin implementing the 10-year child care plan in the coming months.