Desired: Seeking Land and Buildings for Child-Care Spaces in Peterborough County – Peterborough

Land, buildings sought as need for Peterborough County child-care spaces surges - Peterborough

“Peterborough County Facing Child-Care Crisis: Urgent Need for More Spaces

As the demand for child-care services continues to rise in Peterborough County, officials are urging municipalities to step up and offer underused spaces or surplus land to create more child-care spaces. The situation is becoming critical, with over 3,700 children in the city and county currently on a wait-list for child-care services.

Current State of Child-Care Spaces
Nancy Fisher, project consultant for the Peterborough Childcare Expansion plan, reported that there are approximately 4,400 licensed child-care spaces among 59 sites in the county, with an additional 73 licensed home child-care providers. However, this is still not enough as the number of children on the wait-list continues to grow.

Areas for Focus
Fisher highlighted “priority areas” that need more child-care spaces, including Selwyn Township, Cavan-Monaghan Township, and specific areas in Peterborough. She emphasized the need for county councillors to identify municipally owned buildings and land that could be converted into child-care spaces.

Financial Implications
Failure to create new child-care spaces will result in the loss of government funding, estimated at up to $3 million annually. Local initiatives have shown progress, with new spaces opening each year, but more needs to be done to meet the increasing demand.

Different Perspectives
While some township mayors are open to exploring options to provide more child-care spaces, others raise concerns about the financial impact. County warden Bonnie Clark also points out the need to address the issue of low wages for early childhood educators, which is hindering the expansion of existing child-care sites.

A Changing Landscape
The child-care landscape in Peterborough underwent significant changes with the $13.2-billion Canada-wide early learning and child-care agreement. This resulted in a surge in demand, leading to a 60% increase in the number of children on the wait-list over the past five years.

Looking Ahead
Despite the challenges, there is hope for progress. The goal is to reduce child-care fees to $10 per day by 2026, and additional funding has been secured to create more child-care spaces in the coming years. However, the urgency of the situation cannot be ignored.

In conclusion, the issue of child-care spaces in Peterborough County is complex and multifaceted, requiring a collaborative effort from all stakeholders. By addressing the growing demand, financial constraints, and workforce challenges, the county can work towards ensuring that every child has access to quality child-care services. The time to act is now.”



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