A Kaslo daycare is hoping to raise money for an expansion. Photo: Sandy Millar/Unsplash

A Kaslo daycare is hoping to raise money for an expansion. Photo: Sandy Millar/Unsplash

Kaslo daycare raising funds, moving ahead with expansion plans

Periwinkle Daycare wants more capacity

by John Boivin

Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Valley Voice

Kaslo’s Periwinkle Daycare has launched a fundraising campaign to start work on the expansion of its facility to allow it to provide child care to more local families.

“It’s ambitious, but sometimes you have to be ambitious,” says Heike Reeg-Smith, the daycare’s manager and lead Early Childhood Educator.

Periwinkle had gone after a grant from the provincial New Spaces program last year to allow it to expand its services in Kaslo. That application for $370,000 to add 15 spaces was turned down, however, despite the fact the village has fewer daycare spaces than needed.

“That put an end to our very ambitious large plan,” says Reeg-Smith, “however, we never gave up.”

The daycare has managed some improvements since the application was denied, using its reserve funds. A new fence has added more outdoor space for the children.

“It’s supportive of our COVID procedures of spending a lot of time outside,” she says, and the donation of some child-sized picnic tables has allowed even more activity. “We can eat outside, do crafts outside, we can be pretty much living outside, which is great.”

They’ve also continued to work on plans to expand the indoor space. Now they’ve approached architects to draw up a modest expansion to the building itself.

“We already had a substantial contribution from the Columbia Basin Trust, Kootenay Savings and Western Financial,” says Reeg-Smith. “We have raised just short of $100,000 for an overall budget.”

By press time, Reeg-Smith had hoped the building permits for the project would have been issued. Like many organizations facing pressure from skyrocketing building supply prices, Periwinkle is hoping to get work done now to keep costs down.

“We’re very much hoping to complete this before the end of construction season this year,” she says. The new addition will allow a reconfiguration of the children’s cubby spaces, safety improvements to the 100-year-old building, and new furniture.

That scaled-down expansion will allow for a little more capacity – 16 or 20 children, instead of the current 12. That will have other growth effects – the daycare would be able to expand service to five days a week from the current three, and hire another full-time or some part-time child care workers to allow it to take in more children.

But even modest improvements like the ones being planned don’t come cheap. Reeg-Smith says the daycare board has decided to raise another $100,000 to help pay for the work. So they’ve put a fundraising auction up on the web and a crowd-funding page on Canada Helps.

Heike hopes the village will rally behind the daycare as it did for the library, which recently raised enough money to pay for its share of a land purchase for a new building.

“We’re really hoping,” she says. “We really haven’t done any community fundraising before this, so we’re hoping the community, which is always asking for more child care spaces, will be able to contribute and enjoy the things that are being offered on the auction.”

You can visit the daycare’s donation page at https://www.periwinklekaslo.ca/fundraising.html, check out auction items on their Facebook page, or visit its Canada Helps page at https://www.canadahelps.org/en/charities/periwinkle-childrens-centre-kaslo/.