Excerpted from Executive Summary
Over the past 20 years, the population of Bowen Island has nearly doubled, with an increasing number of families choosing to call Bowen Island home. While the number of children on the island has remained fairly consistent, the number of families drawing from childcare supports on the island has increased. This is largely due to a variety of reasons including long commute times, an increase in single parent families living on island, and the need for two incomes to support families while the cost of living continues to rise in the lower mainland. Parents on Bowen Island face additional challenges with childcare in a community that, while in close proximity to the services of a city, is largely rural in nature, due to the island’s separation from services and reliance on ferry travel.
Census information gathered, combined with qualitative and quantitative information drawn from both caregivers and parents on Bowen Island, indicates that there are currently not enough childcare spaces available to meet the needs of the current population on Bowen Island. In addition to this, expected increases in population growth, which will be reflected in the next census year (2021) are likely to place further pressure on the existing resources on Bowen Island resulting in childcare shortages for the families that need them.
This report will explore feedback provided by the community and other resources regarding demographic and occupational trends, childcare usage and services desired. It will further provide short, medium, and long term recommendations for the Bowen Island Municipality to consider in planning for the community’s long range childcare needs. In alignment with the requirements of the childcare planning grant used to fund this project, the report will be accompanied by documentation that identifies the number and types of licensed childcare spaces available on Bowen Island as well as create short, medium, and long term space creation targets.