City of New Westminster receives Planning Institute of British Columbia 2013 Award for Excellence in Planning Practice
New Westminster, BC – The City of New Westminster is the recipient of the Planning Institute of British Columbia (PIBC) 2013 Award for Excellence in Planning Practice for its Child Care Strategy. This is the second year in a row that the New Westminster Child Care Strategy has been recognized with an award; in 2012 the City was the recipient of the 2012 Provincial Child Care Award of Excellence.
“The City of New Westminster is committed to being a leader and active partner in the development of a comprehensive child care system,” said Mayor Wayne Wright. “We are pleased that our work in creating the Child Care Strategy has been recognized with this award as it underscores the importance of child care in our city and the role it plays in combating child poverty.”
The Child Care Needs Assessment and Strategy were based on survey responses and focus groups with aboriginal, lone-parent, low-income and new immigrant families, as well as parents on a waitlist for child care placement and parents of children with extra support needs. Of the 21 recommended actions, 18 have been fully completed with the remainder to be implemented in 2013. Specific actions include, but are not limited to, the construction of the first civic child care facility to be operated by a non-profit provider; the development of a Child Care Reserve Fund; the establishment of a civic Child Care Grant Program; and the implementation of a Child Care Protocol between the City and School District.
Between October 2008 and January 2012, the implementation of these actions has resulted in a net increase of 324 licensed child care spaces in New Westminster; 60% of which were created as a result of a direct City action such as development variance permit, lease of City-owned land or rezoning. Since January 2012, 104 new licensed child care spaces have been created, with another 153 licensed child care spaces in the planning stages.
“These licensed child care spaces are contributing to the social and economic development of New Westminster,” said John Stark, the City’s Senior Social Planner “They are providing opportunities for children to grow in all areas of child development and are essential to retaining or attracting residents in the labour force.”