Best case scenario
By Chad Ingram
As reported earlier this month, the County of Haliburton will assume ownership of the licensed daycare centre in Minden, and that is great news for local families, both current and future.
As regular readers of this publication and most parents of young children will recall, just more than a year ago, there was a major kerfuffle when Ontario Early Years, which had operated the centre, announced that its continued operation was no longer financially feasible for the organization. It intended to close the centre just a week after making the announcement, and shocked, frustrated parents suddenly grappling with who would look after their children voiced their displeasure at a heated public meeting at the community centre. Another daycare provider, Compass Early Learning and Care, quickly assumed operations, and so childcare continued, uninterrupted, from the premises on Prentice Street.
The property has continued to be owned by Ontario Early Years, and during a special meeting in mid-August, councillors voted to proceed with the county “purchase” of the facility, for the whopping sum of $2. All parties were pleased with the outcome.
While the centre will continue to be operated by Compass, with the county – or, in other words, the community – now the owner of the property, it ensures that it will continue to be used for the purpose of child care, in the spirit of what the Dollo family had in mind when they initially donated the property.
As County Warden Liz Danielsen put it, “this seemed the most appropriate direction for the County to take to ensure that we don’t find ourselves in a boondoggle like we encountered a number of months ago with the daycare threatening to close, parents outraged and everyone wondering how they would arrange for childcare with little or no notice.”
Certainly, as the father of a young daughter who attends a daycare, I’m empirically aware that there is nothing so important as knowing our children are safe and secure in the place we leave them during the workday (a shout-out to the wonderful staff at Wee Care, right here). The county’s acquisition of the Minden daycare should provide a peace of mind to parents that the property will continue to operate as a licensed daycare centre for many years to come.
Also exciting is that an education-ministry-funded expansion of the facility will add a number of daycare spaces.