UPDATED – Thurber Street Child Development Centre now open in Smiths Falls
Smiths Falls is re-opening the Thurber Street Child Development Centre, doubling the number of town-run childcare spaces in town.
“We got increased demand that we couldn’t meet and were having trouble finding alternative childcare spaces,” said Art Manhire, director of Community Services.
Last year the town had closed the Thurber street location, moving the service to the newly built St. Francis de Sales location, but kept the license for Thurber Street active with the idea that it could be re-opened to meet growing demand in 2020.
“We were planning to renovated Thurber next year, but when the county came to us and said we’d have to complete it this year to take advantage of the funding, we accelerated the program,” explained Manhire.
Earlier this year, Lanark County received provincial funds to improve childcare access in the region, and offered the town $100,000 to help renovate the tired facility, but it had to be spent before the end of the year. That money went towards upgrading the kitchen facilities, installing a new HVAC system, replacing some of the flooring, adding lighting, an additional hand washing sink, and improving the parking lot and walkways. Then a few months later the County was able to add another $50,000 towards a new outdoor play structure suitable for toddlers and pre-school age children.
“We are working on hosting an open house so people can come and see the changes that have taken place,” Manhire told committee members, at the December 2nd Special Committee of the Whole meeting.
Although registration is open now, Manhire told committee that he anticipates the bulk of registration will take place in January.
There are a total of 34 spaces available and pricing in Smiths Falls is still the lowest in the region.
“It’s about 60 percent of the price of childcare spaces in Carleton Place,” said Manhire.
Current Childcare fees in Smiths Falls are at $35 per day for a toddler and $30.90 for a pre-schooler. In an effort to achieve greater sustainability the town has agreed to increase fees by five percent or a $1.50 per day for a toddler starting around the second quarter of 2020.
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