CANSO – The Canso and Area Childcare Association had good news to discuss at its first annual general meeting (AGM) on Feb. 9 at the Canso Library Resource Centre.
The meeting opened with news from organization Chair Sarah Delorey that Chris Grover, Strait Regional Centre for Education’s (SRCE) director of finance and acting director of operations, had called her that day.
“He said that the province gave them (SRCE) the go-ahead for them to hire the engineer and to start the floor plan, so that is very beneficial for us,” Delorey told board members, adding that the province would pay for the cost of the plan.
Delorey continued her chair’s report, stating, “We have made some major strides this year and hope that this is the year that we break ground and start construction.”
The province, Delorey said, was fully on board with putting day care centres in existing schools, which is a project the SRCE has been developing for some years.
In earlier meetings, association members did a walk-through of Fanning Education Centre/Canso Academy (FECCA) with SRCE staff to set out the potential area for the childcare centre.
Part of the planned renovation of space in FECCA will see the fitness centre move out of the building. As part of the Municipality of the District of Guysborough’s (MODG) recreation department, the move had to be made in consultation with the MODG.
Board member Betty Ann Munroe asked Delorey what the projected timeline was from costing to open doors. Delorey said she thought it was one year and added that the association is looking at setting up a temporary day care location in the meantime.
The expected price tag for the childcare centre in Fanning Education Centre/Canso Academy is $700,000.
Although the funding formula for the centre has yet to be hammered out, the childcare association has been busy over the past 18 months, since its formation, fundraising for the project. Fundraising Chair Danielle Bond gave a report highlighting those efforts at the AGM which included: community calendar sales, hosting the Canso Regatta dance and scratch ticket wreath sales.
Bond noted that some community members had asked why the group was fundraising when they were under the impression that the project would be government funded. Bond said that costs, and who was responsible for them, had yet to be determined. Monies raised through fundraising could go towards equipment and special projects at the centre. She also noted that community support for the project was impressive.
Delorey said, “The province was happy to see how much fundraising we’ve done.”
One special project that has been discussed is the creation of a scholarship for FECCA students planning a career in early childhood education, which would help the centre secure future staff from within the community.
The meeting concluded with the introduction of the executive board for 2023-2024. The slate of officers is as follows: Sarah Delorey, chair; Shyanne George, vice-chair; Susan O’Handley, secretary; Rachel Roberts, treasurer and Danielle Bond, fundraising chair.
For more information on the association visit their Facebook page: Canso & Area Daycare Initiative.