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SD62 construction groundbreaking for child care facility at Colwood Elementary

colwood elementary
Colwood Elementary backs onto Sooke Road in Colwood. [Google aerial 2022]

Monday June 26, 2023 | COLWOOD, BC [Updated 9:15 pm]

by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends

The ground blessing ceremony for a new Hulitan Family & Community Society child care centre in Colwood took place on Monday June 26, hosted by Sooke School District 62 (SD62).

The future Early Years Centre facility will be built on Colwood Elementary School property (owned by SD62) on Sooke Road.

Size and capacity:

Colwood Elementary School presently has 201 students in Grades Kindergarten to Grade 5.

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The upcoming child care centre will have 73 spaces: 24 spaces for infants and toddlers as well as 24 spaces for preschoolers age 3 to 5, and 25 spaces for before-and-after school care, says Sarah McDonald, Manager of Early Years, Hulitan Family and Community Services.

It will be a standalone facility, not attached to the school. SD62 has leased out 0.32 acres, in the shape of a triangle on the north field of the school property. The building area will be 568.2 sq m (6,116 sq ft).

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Construction site of the new child care centre next to Colwood Elementary. [SD62]

SD62 property blessed by leadership:

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Colwood Elementary School at 3000 Wishart Road is within the Sooke School District 62.

As the property is on the territory of the lək̓ʷəŋən speaking people (the Esquimalt and Songhees Nations) today’s ceremony involved a blessing.

That was led by Brianna Bear from Songhees Nation) (Butch Dick of Songhees Nation is unable to attend today), and Joseph Thomas from Esquimalt Nation did a song.

“Blessing the land on which we build child care centres is a beautiful and positive way to start new projects off right! Together with Hulitan and SD62 we’ll create more than 70 new licensed inclusive child care spaces to benefit families in Colwood,” said Grace Lore today.

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Indigenous blessing of the Hulitan child care centre land and construction site in Colwood, June 26, 2023. [Twitter]

Attending the 1 pm ceremony today at the construction site were Grace Lore, Minister of State for Child Care along with M’akola Development Services (Kevin Albers, CEO), elected representatives from the City of Colwood (City councillors Dean Jantzen, Misty Olsen, Ian Ward, Kim Jordison and David Grove), and SD62 representatives (trustees Cendra Beaton and Trudy Phillips, acting chair Amanda Dowhy, and Superintendent Scott Stinson).

“It takes a village. We are proud to be part of this project to support much needed infrastructure in our communities,” said SD62. “So excited this project is now underway!,” said M’akola.

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MLA-elect Ravi Parmar (former chair of the SD62 board of education until his win as MLA for Langford-Juan de Fuca on June 24) on Twitter thanked the “incredible partnership between Hulitan, SD62 Sooke and M’akola. “This project is becoming a reality,” he said. He acknowledged Grace Lore for her department’s “generous contribution in funding”.

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Colwood Elementary backs onto Sooke Road in Colwood. [Google map]

Cradle to graduation:

Since last year when the Horgan government stretched the footprint of the former Ministry of Education to also include child care, child care responsibilities now fall within the expanded Ministry of Education and Child Care. At that time the education minister was Jennifer Whiteside. Since the end of 2022 under Premier David Eby, the Minister of Education and Child Care is Rachna Singh.

As SD62 Superintendent Scott Stinson put it at a meeting last fall, the responsibilities of school districts are now ‘from cradle to graduation’. It’s a broad swath of responsibility for the lives of children and impacts on their families.

Hulitan in the neighbourhood:

Earlier this year the BC Government issued $216,000 to Hulitan Family & Community Society “to support the group’s economic and organizational resilience so they can continue their meaningful work for people and families in the community”.

Another child care facility in the Colwood area is likely quite welcome for parents and also teachers who are part of the Colwood Elementary School community. It is also situated near Royal Roads University.

colwood elementary, aerial
Colwood Elementary backs onto Sooke Road in Colwood. [Google aerial 2022]

===== RELATED:

Horgan’s local office issues $216,000 to Indigenous group (Feb 10, 2023)

Education & Child Care Minister toured Royal Bay Secondary (Jan 27, 2023)

More BC families benefit from $10-a-day child care (Jan 3, 2023)

SD62 Board meeting: COVID, child care, CUPE input (November 23, 2021)

monk, it services


mary p brooke
Mary P Brooke, Editor, Island Social Trends

Mary P Brooke is the editor and publisher of Island Social Trends. She has been a thinker and writer all of her life.

Mary is the mother of four now-grown children. As a family they experienced the impacts of the education system through the 1990-2015 years in SD61 and SD62. Mary ran as a school trustee candidate in SD62 in the October 2022 election.

Ms Brooke holds a B.Sc. in Foods and Nutrition (with a second major in sociology), a university certificate in Public Relations, and an industry certificate in digital marketing. She launched her west shore publication series in 2008 (MapleLine Magazine 2008-2010, Sooke Voice News 2011-2013, West Shore Voice News 2014-2020, Island Social Trends 2020 to present).

Ms Brooke has been nominated in 2023 for the Jack Webster Foundation Shelley Fralic Award for a woman journalist’s contribution to her community and society.