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Children and childcare

Twice as nice: Construction begins for two childcare centres on Gastown parkade rooftop

Due to the increased shortage of viable childcare sites in the downtown Vancouver area, we need to capitalize on existing city-owned land and infrastructure to provide new facilities for children to learn and play.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart

December 16 2019 –

Construction is underway for two childcare centres which will provide 74 much-needed childcare spaces.

The innovative developments will utilize space on the rooftops of two Gastown parkades to increase the number of quality childcare spaces serving the downtown and Downtown Eastside areas.

The City will own and maintain the two centres, with the YMCA of Greater Vancouver appointed as the non-profit operator. The City will lease the centres to the YMCA at a nominal rate to support sustainable operations and to support affordability for families.

“Due to the increased shortage of viable childcare sites in the downtown Vancouver area, we need to capitalize on existing city-owned land and infrastructure to provide new facilities for children to learn and play,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “The creation of child care facilities on these two Gastown parkade rooftops is a great example of how the City and Province are collaborating to take an innovative approach to increasing access to childcare spaces for Vancouver families.”

“Having access to quality child care helps kids thrive,” said MLA Spencer Chandra-Herbert on behalf of Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care. “These new spaces in Downtown Vancouver are a first step to giving more families access to quality early learning environments in their communities and there’s thousands more to come as we continue to work with the City to put more kids on the path to success, now and into the future.”

"As operators of these new Gastown child care centres, the YMCA will now have a total of 35 child care centres throughout Vancouver — further extending our mission of helping children and families thrive," says Kim Adamson, General Manager, Early Years and Family Development for the YMCA of Greater Vancouver. "With these two innovative centres, we are thrilled to continue our partnership with the City of Vancouver and the Province of B.C., and are excited for the opportunity to deliver our play-based, early learning curriculum to even more children in the future.

Centres to provide 37 childcare spaces each

Located at 150 Water Street and 151 West Cordova Street, the two single-storey centres will provide 37 childcare spaces each, with combined areas of approximately 10,000 sq. ft of indoor space and 11,000 sq. ft of outdoor space, connected by pathways and a footbridge.

The centres are designed to achieve LEED Gold certification and Passive House Standard Certification with a focus on net zero energy and low carbon systems. In addition to energy efficiency this design promotes healthy indoor environment and occupant comfort. Photovoltaic panels will be incorporated into the project in response to the zero emissions policy.

The construction of the two centres is estimated to cost around $17 million, which is being funded through Community Amenity Contributions (CACs) from developers such as Bosa Development and Westbank, $1 million Major Capital Grant from the Province of BC and the Union of BC Municipalities. The cost of this project is unique compared to other centres due to the additional construction requirements needed to build on a parkade rooftop, as well as Passive House requirements.  Construction at the Parkade location is made possible by the City of Vancouver’s Property Endowment Fund.

CACs play an important role in the delivery of public amenities and infrastructure, such as affordable housing, childcare, parks, cultural facilities, and community facilities, accommodating growth while ensuring the city’s livability.

Childcare is an important part of Vancouver’s Healthy City Strategy which calls on partners, in particular senior governments, to help create a city where everyone can thrive. Access to quality childcare supports healthy child development while supporting access to the labour market for families, especially for women. 

While childcare is a provincial mandate, Vancouver City Council has set a target of facilitating the creation of 1,000 new licensed childcare spaces between 2019 and 2022. The City delivered over 1,100 spaces between 2015 and 2018, and has secured more than 200 new childcare spaces so far in the 2019-2022 capital plan.

Child care spaces are set to open next year

Childcare at Sir Sandford Fleming Elementary School (1401 49 Ave E) 

  • 69 spaces serving ages 0-4
  • Partnership with Vancouver Board of Education (colocation on seismically replaced elementary school), with $500K funding from the Province (BC Childcare Capital Grants)

 Childcare at Tennyson Elementary School (1936 10 Ave W)

  • 69 spaces serving ages 0-4, plus 20 school age care spaces
  • Partnership with VBE (colocation on seismically replaced elementary school), with $500K funding from the Province (BC Childcare Capital Grants)

 
Childcare at Gastown Parkades (151 Cordova  Street  and 150 Water  Street)

  • 74 spaces serving ages 0-4

The City also continues to work on expanding access to school age childcare care, supporting the creation of new programs through expansion grants, developing multi-purpose space, and pilot projects.

Learn more about child care in the city