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Osoyoos Child Care Expansion Project Update

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Osoyoos Child Care Expansion Project Update
In June 2019, the Town of Osoyoos received a grant of $892,500 from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities’ (UBCM) Community Child Care Space Creation Program to provide an additional 18 licensed child care spaces at the Osoyoos Child Care Centre. The Centre is in a Town owned facility and is operated by the Osoyoos Child Care Centre Society.

The planned project consisted of a 3,200 square foot 2 story addition to the Centre including 3 new bathrooms, a kitchen, childcare space including a nap room, staff room and office space. The planned project also included renovations of the existing 4,130 square feet of space including increased energy efficiency of HVAC systems, electrical upgrades, windows, indoor storage, outdoor improvements including retaining walls, fencing, sunshades, covered entrances, indoor active play spaces and capital purchases including office desks, chairs, appliances, software, high chairs, cribs, cots and bedding, etc.

The original project commencement was delayed as the Town worked with the Society to prepare and submit 2 additional grant applications to the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund for $3,000,000 each. Both of those applications were unsuccessful and the Town was informed of the denial of its second application only in September 2020. Those applications were unsuccessful for a variety of reasons including that they failed to provide documentation that supported community need linked to a community child care plan and that they failed to demonstrate the ability to create spaces that will serve underserved populations, children requiring extra support, Indigenous children and families, newly landed immigrants, refugees and young parents. The grant applications now needed to demonstrate the ability to create inclusive, flexible and accessible care that is culturally based and that provides quality education and learning opportunities for all children. While the Province used to accept informal documentation to support community need and service delivery the Ministry now requires applicants to have a child care plan and provide detailed descriptions and concrete examples of the services and programs to be provided.

In November 2020 the Town commenced a procurement process to identify an individual or organization to act as an owner’s representative and project managers to undertake the Child Care Centre expansion with the available funding ($892,500). Early in detailed project review, concerns arose around the amount of funding available and project described in the grant application. At the same time, the Town requested an extension to the timeline for project completion. A final extension was granted by the UBCM and the Ministry with project completion now required by November 1, 2022.

The Town issued an RFP for project management services in January 2021 and Colliers was the successful proponent. Working with Colliers, it became obvious that the expansion plan described in the successful grant application was unachievable with available funds. The project scope was reduced to consist of an addition of ~1,350 square feet (instead of 3,200), renovation of the existing space, energy efficiency and other system upgrades, outdoor and indoor improvements and capital purchases.

Changes to the project scope require approval of the grant fund administrators (UBCM) and the Ministry to ensure it would meet grant funding program requirements and those of the Child Care Licensing Act. In order to consider the scope change, UBCM and the Ministry required that drawings and technical specifications for schematic design, detailed design and construction documents be created. They also required that a revised grant fund application be submitted for the revised project and that was submitted in May 2021.

The Town issued a Design Build RFP for the reduced project scope in June 2021. Despite some initial interest, the RFP process did not result in any proposals being received. Colliers then reached out directly to construction and architectural firms to secure the necessary resources to deliver the project. Using the tiered, negotiable, RFP process an architectural firm and construction firm were engaged to develop project design in order to obtain UBCM and Ministry approval for the reduced project scope.

In October 2021 Colliers provided the Town with a memorandum regarding the project that identified project risks and an anticipated funding shortfall of ~$500,000. The memorandum also stated that the Town would need to commit around $100,000 to get a better handle on the anticipated funding shortfall and to determine if the UBCM and Ministry would approve the use of grant funds for a much-reduced project scope. If approval for a modified project was not granted the Town of Osoyoos would be out $100,000 that it has not provisioned for in its budget

Town Council met with representatives of the Child Care Society on November 3, 2021 to discuss the project and then met with staff on two more occasions to discuss the project and review it with regards to the Town’s financial capacity to fund the shortfall along with other municipal obligations, priorities and plans. Staff contacted the Ministry of Municipal Affairs to determine if the Town could use some of the COVID Restart funds for the project and the Ministry responded that the funds could not be used for that. At a meeting held November 23 Council again considered the project, its funding shortfall and risks and determined that the project would not proceed and directed that the Child Care Centre and UBCM be advised of that and that the grant funds would be returned to the UBCM.

At the November 23 meeting, Council directed staff to include funds in the 2022-2026 Financial Plan for a Childcare Needs Assessment and Strategic Plan. It is hoped that through the assessment of needs and development of an action plan for childcare in Osoyoos that the community will be in a better position to take advantage of future Childcare BC New Spaces Fund grant opportunities up to $3,000,000 for the provision of additional, quality, affordable and inclusive childcare in Osoyoos. Pending budget approval an RFP will be issued to undertake a childcare needs assessment and develop an action plan. It is believed that the development of a child care plan will meet Ministry requirements to document community need, service delivery and provide detailed descriptions and concrete examples of the services and programs to be provided for grant funding opportunities.
 
We are disappointed that the project is unable to proceed but believe that the needs assessment and action plan will assist in determining community needs and delivering adequate and appropriate childcare for Osoyoos for the foreseeable future

Inquiries:

Town of Osoyoos
Chief Administrative Officer
(T) 250.495.6515
(E) info@osoyoos.ca

Event date: 
Friday, 26 November, 2021
News item
Press release
While every reasonable effort is made to ensure the accuracy of this data, we are not responsible for any errors or omissions contained on these pages. Please verify any information in question with the Town of Osoyoos.   Town of Osoyoos
Box 3010, 8707 Main Street
Osoyoos, BC V0H 1V0
(TF) 1.888.495.6515
(T) 250.495.6515
(F) 250.495.2400
(E) info@osoyoos.ca

 

Mission Statement
To provide quality community services and facilities, which meet the needs of the current
and future residents of Osoyoos, in a socially, economically and environmentally sustainable manner.

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