New childcare facility in works for Esterhazy
Extra 60 spaces to be added
November 15, 2023, 10:23 am
Ryan Kiedrowski, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter
Childcare options in Esterhazy received a big boost Friday with a provincial government announcement promising over 2,300 spaces beings opened across 51 facilities. The total investment from the Government of Saskatchewan is an estimated $23.5 million, and part of that will go towards the newly-minted Little Miners Community Daycare in Esterhazy.
“It’s fantastic,” said Mayor Grant Forster when asked for his reaction to the news. “We want to make sure that we have the service available to our residents. It also opens up possibilities for us to get more people into town. It just gives us one more attraction to have people want to move here. With that and hopefully a new hospital coming on in the next three to five years, we’re setting ourselves up pretty good. It definitely takes care of a need.”
Earlier this year, some residents expressed concern about childcare availability as they planned on returning to work. A town meeting was held in May, which seemed to get the ball rolling on the idea of increased childcare spaces.
“We had a survey go out in May, it was only posted for five days and we had over 90 responses on it,” explained Shaelynn Sarich, vice-chair of the Little Miners Community Daycare Board. “There’s a huge need in our community.”
“It’s super exciting to see that it’s going to become a reality,” she said when asked about her reaction.
There will be 60 spaces in the new facility with the government committing $10,000 per space for building costs.
While still many months away from opening, the new daycare is estimated to nearly double current availability in Esterhazy.
“It’s a great opportunity,” said Melville-Saltcoats MLA Warren Keading. “The current daycare we have in Esterhazy is doing great work, but they are at capacity. We just got some new folks who just moved to the community who are willing to take this on. To get a manager, executive director and a board established is a struggle itself.”
While still in its early planning stages, Little Miners is firming up its board and eyeing a physical location in Esterhazy.
“We got word that there was potentially a facility that would become available,” Forster said. “We got our economic development person on it at the time and she ran with it.”
He also noted that there will be a Town employee in close contact with the board, ensuring municipal involvement and progressive updates are communicated.
“It will be an exciting opportunity for a lot of stakeholders involved,” Keading added. “In this agreement we got with the Feds, there’s some really good capital opportunities that they’re willing to put forward.”
Keading believes the extra childcare spaces will attract more people to Esterhazy as well.
“I can’t wait for this to happen,” he said. “I do believe it will help support being able to recruit professionals to our area as well. We definitely have that need.”