Rocky Mountain School District No. 6

Posted on May 10, 2023
L-R Karen Shipka, Superintendent of SD6; Al Miller, Mayor of Invermere; Sophie Timmermans, Former Chairperson of Windermere Valley Child Care Society; Don McCormick, Board Member of Columbia Basin Trust, and Amber Byklum, Chairperson of SD6

School District No. 6 (Rocky Mountain), District of Invermere, Columbia Basin Trust and Windermere Valley Child Care Society broke ground on a new $8.6 million childcare facility to be constructed on the land at Eileen Madson Elementary School.

In the fall of 2022, School District No. 6 (SD6), in partnership with Windermere Valley Child Care Society made an application to the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund.  The School District received approval and more than $8.6 million in combined federal and provincial funding, including $300,000 from Columbia Basin Trust, in April 2023 to build a 148-space child care facility for children ages 0 to 10.  Federal finding is provided under the Canada-British Columbia Canada-wide Early Learning and Child Agreement – 2021 to 2026. The plan is to include 24 infant toddler spaces, 100 pre-school spaces, and 24 after-school care spaces. 

Amber Byklum, Board of Education Chairperson for SD6 states, “We want to thank our partners, Windermere Valley Child Care Society and the District of Invermere for their support of this project.  The School District is grateful to the provincial and federal governments, and the Trust for funding the creation of this new child care facility”. 

Karen Shipka, Superintendent states, “Last year, the Board of Education proactively supported the District Administration team by hiring a Director for Early Learning and Child Care.  Crystal MacLeod has been working tirelessly to build strong partnerships with third-party providers like Windermere Valley Child Care Society and the School District team has been supporting this application along the way. We are aware of the extensive waitlists for child care in the Invermere and surrounding areas.  This facility will help to address some of those concerns for families.”

Lana Osborne-Paradis, Board Chair of the Windermere Valley Child Care Society states “Windermere Valley Childcare Society has been serving and supporting families in the Columbia Valley since 1975, and we are thrilled to continue this work. This exciting project has been made possible due to the efforts and collaboration of SD6, the Town of Invermere and Columbia Basin Trust, and will allow us to continue delivering important childcare programs for the hardworking parents of the Columbia Valley. Our society’s manager Pat Miller and assistant manager Tiffany Traverse have been instrumental in this collaborative project, and we would like to thank them both for their continued hard work and dedication.”

Johnny Strilaeff, President and CEO, Columbia Basin Trust states, “We recognize the significant impact that accessible child care has on the growth of families and careers, and we are proud to support SD6 in expanding child care spaces in Invermere. This much-needed facility will be a valuable addition to an already thriving community. We extend our congratulations to all involved in making this project a reality.”

“Breaking ground on yet another child care centre in the region further supports our commitment to create child care spaces where they are needed most, including approximately 300 new child care spaces to improve access for families in Invermere and Kimberley,” said Grace Lore, Minister of State for Child Care. “We know child care is life-changing for families, which is why we are partnering with the Rocky Mountain School District and others in the child care sector to build affordable, accessible, quality, inclusive child care as a core service that all families can rely on.”

“I would like to congratulate everyone involved in this important milestone,” said Karina Gould, federal Minister of Families, Children and Social Development. “As part of a Canada-wide early learning and child care system, we are working with provincial and territorial partners to support the creation of affordable, high-quality, flexible, and inclusive child care spaces that give children across Canada the best possible start in life.”

This is the second ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund announcement for School District No. 6 (Rocky Mountain).  The first was announced at Marysville Elementary School on February 2, 2023.