skscfjb · 2021-09-07

Funds for daycare

A daycare being displaced from OPP Headquarters will own the new building that will serve as its home, thanks to a $1.4 million gift from the province.

“No landlord will ever be able to shut us down again,” said Lucille Desjardins, director of Treasure Island Daycare.

Desjardins has learned the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing is committing $1.4 million toward the construction of a new facility in West Ridge.

“They are putting up the bricks and mortar,” she said.

The announcement followed months of uncertainty, as the non-profit daycare sought to secure funding based on a commitment of support from the Minister of Children and Youth Services.

Desjardins persisted with regular e-mails to the government and the media, determined to keep the issue front and centre.

This week she learned that another ministry would instead provide the all-important funding.

“We are very, very happy,” she said.

The $1.4 million grant will be administered through the County of Simcoe, but falls $300,000 short of the total building cost.

As a result, the daycare will finish the basement on its own and cover a portion of the start-up costs, Desjardins added.

Officials are now working with builder Angelo Orsi to determine a construction timeline, saying the funding delay will push the opening date to November or December.

The daycare was to leave OPP Headquarters by the end of June.

“We will need an extension, and the ministries are prepared to deal with that without my having to go to the (the province),” Desjardins added. “I am very happy about that.”

The daycare serves more than 120 clients and has another 100 families on a waiting list.

In September it was ordered to vacate OPP Headquarters by Jan. 31 following a security review, but won an extension after daycare officials made public their concerns.

The new, 8,500 square foot facility will be named the West Ridge Early Education Centre.

It will sit on a two-acre property west of Highway 11, along Harvie Settlement Road.