GUYSBOROUGH – The community of Guysborough has a lot of great selling points for families looking for a rural lifestyle – pre-primary to Grade 12 education, full-service hospital, easy access to nature, reasonable house prices and a vibrant arts community – but it’s the thing Guysborough doesn’t have that can make or break the decision to settle in the area for some families.
That thing is childcare.
It’s been many years since Guysborough had a licensed daycare centre. And Canso saw their daycare close in June of 2013. In the Quality of Life Survey released in early 2020, Guysborough County outperformed on almost every metric measured for life satisfaction, but failed in the provision of daycare. There is not one licensed daycare space in Guysborough County.
A meeting held March 3 to host a community conversation about daycare in Guysborough heard from approximately 20 to 25 women, and two men, from across the municipality, who said time-and-time again that the lack of childcare, and a licensed daycare centre, in particular, was a major stressor in their family life. Several meeting participants stated that they would not be able to return to work after their maternity benefits expired because they could find no childcare. Others said they would have to reduce their paid work from full time to part-time for the same reason.
The need for a daycare centre in Guysborough has moved under the skin of the community for years but has surfaced at this time due to a proposal by the Strait Regional Centre for Education (SRCE). The SRCE has incorporated daycare centres in several of their schools, most recently at Bayview School in Port Hood, and has recently floated the idea for Guysborough.
The daycare centres, as they are developed through this plan, are located in a space rented from the SRCE at the local school and operated by a community organization. As one person at the meeting stated, finding or creating a space for the business was the primary reason they did not open a daycare centre in Guysborough.
The discussion last week was the first step in a long road with many twists and turns that may end in the creation of a daycare centre at Chedabucto Place in Guysborough. The project can only move forward with the commitment and effort of the community.