Port Alberni ‘Stroller Brigade’ marches for child care

Port Alberni marched in the Stroller Brigade for Child Care on Saturday, Oct. 5. ELENA RARDON PHOTO
Port Alberni marched in the Stroller Brigade for Child Care on Saturday, Oct. 5. ELENA RARDON PHOTO
Douglas and Karen Peter were all dressed up for Saturday’s stroller brigade. ELENA RARDON PHOTO
Port Alberni marched in the Stroller Brigade for Child Care on Saturday, Oct. 5. ELENA RARDON PHOTO

Port Alberni parents, guardians and early childhood educators joined others across British Columbia in a Stroller Brigade for Child Care last weekend.

Dozens gathered at Wallace Street and Wood Avenue on Saturday, Oct. 5 before walking down to Gord Johns’ campaign office on 10th Avenue to send a message to the federal government that child care is an important issue for the community as a whole. Port Alberni was one of 21 communities across the province taking part in the brigade, bringing attention to the importance of maintaining current federal child care funding agreements—and growing them over time.

The message is especially important to get out during a federal election, explained organizer and educator Carrie Nahorney.

“[Funding] is decided through the province, how it’s going to be spent,” she explained. “But a huge chunk of this money comes federally.”

British Columbia, she said, currently receives $50 million annually from the federal government for child care. But educators are hoping to grow this in order to help B.C. fully implement the popular “$10 a Day” Child Care Plan.

“We want to bring it to everyone’s attention,” said Nahorney. “Because child care matters. Child care is important to the community, not just for families and children. It’s essential for a society to be productive.”

READ MORE: Does Alberni-Clayoquot have enough child care spaces?

A survey organized by the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District has determined that there is a significant need in the community for infant and toddler care, as well as before and after school care. Most child care programs in the Alberni Valley are full—some with waitlists of 40-60 children.

Christina Dicks of the Alberni Valley Childcare Society says it has become “increasingly difficult” to fit parents into their programs due to a lack of space.

“Parents break down in tears on the phone sometimes because they don’t know what to do,” she said. “And we can’t help them.”

Marla Kjernisted is one of the parents currently on waitlists all over town for her one-year-old daughter. She has a nanny coming to the house to help out, but this option is costly.

“I’m lucky that I was able to pull in my resources and find somebody that I trust,” she said. “But I think there needs to be more investment in Early Childhood Education. They’re our future.”

Port Alberni was one of the few communities in B.C. to be granted a $10 a Day Child Care pilot project by the province. Dicks has already seen the impact this prototype has had on families in the community.

“Parents can go back to work, they can do extra things with their families,” she explained.

The project runs until March of 2020, but after that, there are only questions.

“Will it continue? Will it expand?” Dicks wondered out loud. “How will it impact those families if it doesn’t continue? My fingers are crossed that it will continue.”

“It depends on the election,” Nahorney added.

READ MORE: Liberals make child care pledge

All four major parties have committed to maintaining current federal child care funding, she explained. The NDP, Greens and Liberals have promised to go further, working with provinces, territories, Indigenous communities and others to advance what she calls the “three stool legs” of child care: quality, affordability and access.

Nahorney said she was pleased with the turnout on Saturday.

“I think everybody here understands that [child care] is the basis for our communities to thrive and to grow,” she said. “There has been so much tremendous growth and we still have so much left to do over the next few years.”



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

BUDGET 2020: Alberni’s animal shelter to assume broader social role, says SPCA

Nanaimo manager lays out new educational role to Port Alberni city council

Motorhome catches fire in Port Alberni mobile home park

Space heater left inside thought to be cause of fire

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Squash Club in Port Alberni has until March 2020 to fix façade that has been under construction for years

Owner Randy Brown says ‘no problem’ to have building fixed by March deadline

Two pedestrians struck by vehicles in Port Alberni

Fire chief reminds motorists, pedestrians to be cautious

VIDEO: These are the top toys this Christmas, B.C. toy experts say

Consider the play value of a game, staff at Toy Traders say

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Five things of note from Trudeau’s mandate letters to his ministers

Some marching orders come from the Liberal Party’s campaign, while others are new additions

Scheer’s resignation tips party into internal war over school tuition payments

The Conservatives have a Toronto convention already scheduled for April

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Most Read