Children and workers at privately run daycare centres like Wee Wonderz in Summerside face an uncertain future if the Province decides to cut a grant program from its upcoming budget. The program provides money that helps private centres with operating costs and employee wages. With some of the children at Wee Wonderz are Cindy Murray
SUMMERSIDE - The Summerside YMCA has a new tenant ready to begin operations in the new year.
"We do have a tenant leasing our facility," said Ron Perry, president of the YMCA Prince Edward Island. "That would be Wee Wonder Daycare, so it's quite compatible with what we've been offering. It's a long-term lease and we're optimistic that it will work out. And we're looking for other opportunities to carry on similar types of activities, although certainly not in the same vein as childcare services that we have been doing to this date."
The board of directors of the YMCA of Prince Edward Island is cutting its childcare programs at the Summerside centre, effective Dec. 20, because of declining numbers and increasing costs.
Perry said normally, there is a full capacity of 50 children in the early year centre. He said the centre would need 40 children enrolled to break even. The centre only has between 25 and 27 children enrolled.
The childcare licence issued by the province cannot be transferred to another operator, Perry said.
"The province has already told us that they are not going to issue any new licences," he said. "So, only the existing daycare centres will be able to take advantage of our loss. None of the day care centres are full. Even with our closure they still won't be full."
Perry said that was one of the reasons the board of directors decided to get out of the daycare business.
"There's just not enough demand and it looks like there is a decline in the number of children coming into the community," he said. "The writing's on the wall."
The new daycare will begin operations at the YMCA on Jan. 1.
"We still have the vast majority of our children," he said. "We've only lost a few children and we're good until Dec. 20. We're optimistic that it will be a successful business. It will be very similar to what we've been doing but their overhead will be considerably less than ours because of various other commitments we've had over the years to YMCA Canada, and union fees and things like that and high administration costs."
Perry said the YMCA is still in operation in Summerside.
"We are not a dead operation," he said. "We're diminished for sure and we will be looking for new opportunities as the year unfolds for different things that we might be able to offer to the community. We're still committed to doing work in the community."
The city offers no financial support to the YMCA, unlike the Boys and Girls Club of Summerside, which receives $20,000 annually or Generation XX that gets a $25,000 grant on a yearly basis from the city.
"We have asked for funding in the past and have been denied but that was a few years ago," Perry said. "It doesn't mean that we won't be asking for support in the future. That very well may be the case. It depends on the kinds of projects the Y wants to take on and we'll see where we go from there."