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Should developers help pay for new childcare spaces in Delta?

A childcare assessment estimated that Delta would need to add 1,051 new spaces by 2030 to reach the Canadian average childcare ratio
delta, bc daycare spaces
Delta staff note that local governments have the most in-depth understanding of local childcare needs.

The City of Delta could soon be reviewing its Community Amenity Contribution policy for developments to consider including childcare as a public benefit.

That’s just one of several actions identified by staff that could be implemented within the next couple of years as the city looks to increase the number of childcare spaces.

The city over the past two years used provincial funding to complete a childcare needs assessment and subsequently developed a childcare strategy, which was endorsed by council last summer.

The action plan identifies key stakeholders and recommends strategies to help reach a suggested target of 1,051 new childcare spaces in Delta over the next 10 years.

That works out to just over 100 new spaces per year.

A recent staff report notes that in 2021, six new childcare facilities opened in Delta, adding 146 new spaces.

The city has been working with community partners, guided by the Delta Child and Youth Committee Child Care Task Force, on implementing actions identified in the childcare strategy.

A workshop was also held with stakeholders earlier this year to provide an overview of upcoming changes in B.C.'s childcare policy, discuss how they affect Delta and identify and prioritize short-term actions.

Meanwhile, some actions that were identified by staff for the short-to-medium term include identifying opportunities to streamline the approvals process and remove barriers to child facilities, where safety is not compromised.

Another involves Delta’s community amenity policy for developers.

The City of Delta now has a Parks, Recreation and Culture Amenity Contributions policy for new developments to contribute to the cost of new amenities to support community growth, but that could be expanded for childcare.

The report also points out Delta was also able to negotiate with the developers of a high-rise project for 93A Avenue and Scott Road to include 30 new childcare spaces as part of the development. That facility will be given to the city.

As B.C. is transitioning to a universal childcare model, Delta can support the province by providing input to the engagement process, consistent with Delta's childcare strategy, and promoting public engagement opportunities to community members.