Fifty new childcare spaces could soon be coming to North Delta.
Council gave first and second reading to a proposed daycare at Scott Road and 90th Avenue Monday, referring the project to a public hearing.
As outlined in a staff report to council, the owner of The Muse (located at 9015 120 St.) is proposing to convert a commercial retail unit at the northeast corner of the existing building into a childcare facility that would accommodate up to 50 children ranging from infants and toddlers through primary age (three to six years of age) and employ four people. The facility would consist of 314 square metres (3,380 sq. ft.) of indoor space, plus an adjacent 354 square metre (3,810 sq. ft.) outdoor play area.
In order for the proposal to go ahead, the property will need to be rezoned to permit a childcare facility as a permitted non-residential use and to reduce the minimum number of at-grade parking spaces for non-residential use by 11 — nine to accommodate construction of the outdoor play area, and two to create a pick-up/drop-off area. The remaining 25 at-grade spaces would be shared by the daycare and other commercial tenants.
The report notes that Delta’s Childcare Needs Assessment identified North Delta as having a high need for childcare spaces for children aged three to five. Further, Delta’s Childcare Strategy and Action Plan, approved on May 11, 2020, set a goal of adding 1,051 childcare spaces over the next 10 years to reach the Canadian average of 27.2 spaces per 100 children, with a focus on space for infants, toddlers and school-age children.
“According to the research findings presented in the Childcare Strategy, there is a demonstrated need for childcare in North Delta for children both aged 0 to 2 and 3 to 5, and that North Delta is most underserved for childcare spaces in the age range compared to Ladner and Tsawwassen,” the report states.
“The proposed childcare facility rezoning would serve to allow for much-needed childcare facility spaces in the North Delta area and contribute to achieving Delta’s long term goal of adding childcare spaces in line with the Canadian average noted above.”
During the discussion on Monday, councillors Jeannie Kanakos and Lois Jackson both expressed concerns about the amount of parking on site and the amount of traffic in and around the property should the facility be approved, especially during busy peak drop-off and pick-up times.
Director of community planning and development and deputy city manger Marcy Sangret, in replying to a question form Coun. Kanakos, said a traffic engineer retained by the applicant felt that the two pick-up/drop-off stalls would be adequate to accommodate the amount of traffic the facility might attract.
“The operator would look to have staggered drop-off and pick-up times as well as dedicated parking for their employees and others, in addition to all of the other available shared and visitor parking for the complex. So it will potentially be something that needs to be managed — as do other daycares that pick-up during peak times and drop-off during peak times — however this was deemed to be adequate and this is what the applicant is proposing,” Sangret said.
“There also is a desire to balance not losing any more of the existing commercial parking by converting it to short-term use, which means it’s unavailable. The owner has tried to provide the right balance that works from a traffic flow perspective, and their traffic engineer has indicated that they believe it won’t have any impacts on the adjacent streets.”
The staff report notes that a public notice sign was installed on the site in October, 2020, and a public notification letter was sent out on Feb. 16, 2021. To date, no comments from the public have been received.