WINCHESTER — The Upper Canada District School Board has the province’s green light to go to tender on a $5.4-million daycare addition on Winchester Public School (WPS). The project includes 49 new licensed child care spaces and three new rooms for that purpose.
Yesterday’s confirmation from the Ford government follows the recent breaking of a multi-year logjam between the Board and the Township of North Dundas over the way such a development should proceed at the school’s tight footprint off Louise Street, adjacent the busy Winchester District Memorial Hospital complex.
Deemed too expensive to fix by the Board only about 15 years ago, WPS has since transformed into a burgeoning amalgamated school challenging the confines of the village streets around it. The Board was at one point lobbying to close York Street to accommodate growth at WPS, an idea opposed by North Dundas Council, which instead turned the roadway into a one-way street.
Both sides now agree how to shoehorn the planned daycare centre onto the WPS property while accommodating bus and private vehicle flow to both drop off and pick up a mix of daycare children and pupils at the property. Council formally approved the site plan control agreement Jan. 19.
Acknowledging the length of time involved to bridge the impasse, Deputy Mayor Al Armstrong quipped last month that he almost felt as if he were himself a schoolboy at WPS — or wished that were the case — when the improvements were first brought forward by the Board.
“We’re thrilled to move forward with this project as it will help address an ongoing community need for child care services,” said John McAllister, Chair of the Upper Canada District School Board, yesterday. “We’re grateful for the Ministry of Education’s support as well as the collaborative partnership we have with the Township of North Dundas.”
The Winchester project is provincially funded, part of a capital investment program to build more child care spaces in Ontario.
“The funding for this child care addition to Winchester Public School is great news for our community,” said local MPP Jim McDonell, adding the expenditure “will provide choice and flexibility for families and new opportunities for the children of Winchester.”
“From modernizing our curriculum to revitalizing our classrooms and their facilities, we are investing in our students and giving them every tool to achieve their full potential,” said Education Minister Stephen Lecce. “Progress towards the construction of the child care addition to Winchester Public School further demonstrates our government’s commitment to making childcare accessible and affordable for working families.”