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City eyeing licensed daycare at community centre

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Fries, Joe
Publication Date: 
6 Sep 2022


A portion of the Penticton Community Centre currently dedicated to early learning programs could be converted into a full-fledged child-care centre under terms of a proposal being presented to city council today for approval.

City staff is looking to partner with the YMCA to remake the space devoted to Bugaboo University in a bid to address a child-care shortage in Penticton.

The vision has yet to be fully defined, but is meant to replicate the approach used by the city and another partner, OneSky Community Resources, to develop a new 116-seat child-care facility on Edmonton Avenue.

That project saw the city donate the land and the province provide a $3-million capital grant for the new facility, which will be operated by OneSky when it opens this fall.

Council will today be asked to sign a memorandum of understanding regarding Bugaboo University with the YMCA, which was selected as a partner on the strength of its response to a May 2022 request for expressions of interest.

Under terms of the deal, YMCA will pay an as-yet undetermined lease fee for the space.

If council approves the MOU, the next steps would see an architect hired to design the facility and provide cost estimates, which would then be included in a grant application for capital funding that must be filed with the B.C. government in January 2023.

In keeping with the theme of social development, council will also be asked today to issue a development variance permit to allow a five-storey affordable housing project at 603 Main St.

The M'akola Housing Society, which describes itself as B.C. largest provider of homes for Indigenous people with approximately 5,500 clients, requires a zoning variance to exceed the three-storey cap on building in the area.

“Although the height limitation has been put in place to protect and recognize the existing neighbourhood, it creates a significant challenge for opportunities for larger scale development in the downtown,” writes Blake Laven, the city’s director of development services, in his report to council.

Ma’kola is also seeking a variance to provide fewer parking spaces than required on the empty lot, which has been an eyesore since a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant there closed more than a decade ago.

Council gave tentative approval to the height variance back in 2020, but it was a 3-2 split vote.

One other item of broad interest on today’s agenda is the proposed issuance of hillside development permits for the two lots – 850 Wiltse Blvd. and 160 Crow Pl. – that will play host to the 700-home North Wiltse Block residential development.

“Given the large scale of the North Wiltse Block development, this is the first of many future hillside development permits for the site,” writes city planner Steven Collyer in his report to council.

“This first hillside development permit sets the city’s expectations to be met at each phase of the development, and future hillside development permits will have to show conformance with this overarching hillside development permit.”