COLWOOD -- Renovations are underway at the Juan De Fuca Recreation Centre to create new space for child care on the West Shore.

The renovations on the second floor of the rec centre will allow West Shore Parks and Recreation to open 24 new full-time licensed daycare spaces, along with 20 new full-time openings for pre-schoolers and 40 new openings for after-school care. 

All the spaces are expected to be open next September.

“It is needed. We’re getting lots of inquiries from our community about the opportunity for us to offer daycare,” said West Shore Parks and Recreation manager Geoff Welham.

“We’re already in the business of offering pre-school and after-school care, so that will be an extension with more spaces available. But the daycare is new and it’s totally needed in the West Shore.”

The project comes with a $3.8-million price tag, fully funded by grants.

One million of that is coming from the Union of British Columbia Municipalities (UBCM) Child Care Space Creation Program, and the other $2.8M from the Ministry of Children and Family Development.

“I don’t think this would be possible without this grant funding put forward by the government and the UBCM, so it makes opportunities possible,” Welham said. 

The the renovations will also include an industrial teaching kitchen, a quiet room and a new 24-passenger bus. 

Information about the registration process for the new childcare spaces will be announced in December, along with the release of the West Shore Parks and Recreation winter activity guide.

During the renovations, all programming at the recreation centre will continue as scheduled.