New daycare spaces coming to Burnaby in 2025

City Council approved funding on Sept. 25 for a new child care centre near Deer Lake

A child paints at a table. City of Burnaby.

Burnaby families with children 0-5 years of age can expect to have access to a new child care facility, which will provide services to staff and community members who have been on child care wait lists for years. 

On Sept. 25, council voted to approve funding for the Rowan Child Care Facility at 4248 Rowan Ave. and 6250 Deer Lake Ave., with construction scheduled to start in early 2024. The total cost will be $10,185,000, including GST, a significant reduction on the estimated $22,680,000 presented at the council’s June 5 meeting. According to the General Manager for Lands and Facilities, additional funding for the project will come from the province as a grant.

While city and RCMP staff members will be given priority, members of the public will also have access to child care services at the new centre. According to the report submitted to city council on June 5, “the planned facility will be two stories, approximately 14,500 square feet, and will accommodate 74 child care spaces, which include two infant toddler (0-36 months) and two preschool (3-5 years) programs.”

There was some disagreement among the councillors at the Sept. 25 meeting: Coun. Daniel Tetrault welcomed the new project, saying, “every young family I meet, every friend, every neighbour, child care is number one on their concerns, and they want the city to take action, and this is a necessary step for the city to take and it fits with our child care action plan and to remove child care barriers to employment.” On the location, Coun. Pietro Calendino said it would be in a “great place for children,” adding that while there were concerns about it being on parkland, this is incorrect as the location is adjacent to the park. According to the General Manager for Planning and Development, two houses are currently on the site.

Coun. Richard Lee opposed the project on the grounds that the cost was still too high saying, “I would like the staff to consider a cheaper location for the child care centre. I understand that there are demands for child care. I fully support increasing space, but not on this site or with this budget.” Coun. Calendino replied, “I couldn’t disagree more with Coun. Lee’s positioning on this: I am the one who sent it back to staff the last council meeting because I thought the cost was too excessive, but I want to thank the staff for putting on the table the cost of previous child care facilities that we have built and considering the difference in time, it was three or four years ago, and the cost escalation of construction that has taken place during COVID and the last year, I think it’s quite reasonable the cost where it is today.”

Coun. James Wang expressed concerns about the planned location of the centre saying that its proximity to the Burnaby Art Gallery and other heritage sites should be considered when designing the new facility. Coun. Alison Gu said, “I think in our conversations around park use and environmentalism, we do have to think who this is for. It’s for everybody, for the community members. Currently, this is an incredibly underutilized space that’s not being accessed at all, and it’s for our future. Saving the planet is for our future, and to that end, I think that it would be great to see solar panels on this project, as proposed as an option on this report, in the spirit of child care and stewarding good education for our future and youth, it would be great to see solar panels in this project,” which is part of the project’s recommendations. 

Coun. Maita Santiago added her comments on the revised cost, saying, “I’m especially pleased to hear about the possibility that we can receive a substantial amount in grant funding for this child care project.” She expressed her approval for the project saying, “across the city in 2020 a survey found that there are only 17.5 licensed child care spaces per 100 children, and 75% of those that did get child care said that they needed to wait on a waitlist for getting it, and almost 60% were on a waitlist for more than one year. So, child care is a critical and much-needed service. I think that we do have an opportunity as a city to move on that, so I’m pleased to support it. I’m pleased to see the progress made with regards to the cost and the assurances about the care that will be given to ensure that the wildlife are monitored and taken care of.”

If all permits are obtained, the General Manager of Lands and Facilities told council construction will start in early 2024 and be completed at the end of 2024.

This piece was made possible by the Local Journalism Initiative.

Like what you just read? Do you support local journalism? Help us keep going—and growing.

Sign up for our once a week newsletter, or become an Insider to show your love for local reporters and writers.