Nunatsiaq News
NEWS: Iqaluit February 13, 2018 - 2:30 pm

INAC says Iqaluit daycare not reserved for federal workers

"Let’s hope that’s true,” says Coun. Joanasie Akumalik

The approved site of the future INAC-funded 60-child daycare in Iqaluit. (FILE PHOTO)
The approved site of the future INAC-funded 60-child daycare in Iqaluit. (FILE PHOTO)

Iqaluit’s upcoming new INAC-funded 60-child daycare won’t be reserved for the children of federal employees, department spokesperson Spencer Dewar told Iqaluit city councillors Feb. 8 during an update to the committee responsible for planning and lands. 

“It’s going to be a community daycare and it’s going to be run by a society. INAC is putting money forward for the capital project to build the infrastructure. We don’t envision earmarking any spots for federal employees,” Dewar said, responding to Deputy Mayor Romeyn Stevenson, who asked directly if INAC employees would receive priority for daycare space.

“Let’s hope that’s true,” Coun. Joanasie Akumalik said. 

The discussion of daycare spots arose from a project update from Dewar, telling councillors that previous city concerns regarding the project have been addressed.

Following the update, councillors voted to approve a development permit for the daycare, to be built at the corner of Niaqunngusiaq Rd. (the road to Apex) and Paunna Rd.

Akumalik noted that traffic congestion at the site, which would be developed along with the new Joamie Court subdivision, was the main concern originally cited by councillors.

To lessen traffic congestion in the future subdivision, road access to the daycare will be on side roads, some of which have yet to be built. 

“They’ve proposed to build the first 40 to 50 metres of that road,” city planning consultant Michelle Armstrong said.

The developers of the daycare also made changes to accommodate space for a snowmobile trail that would have been interrupted by a planned fenced-in play area.

The daycare is to be run by the Tundra Buddies Daycare Society, who have partnered with INAC to make more quality daycare available to families in Iqaluit.

The facility will employee 12 people, and will be the largest daycare in Nunavut.

Coun. Terry Dobbin noted that a woman he knows recently had to leave Iqaluit because she could not secure suitable daycare.

Given the current lack of daycare in the city and the high cost of the service, he asked if 60 spots would be enough.

“It would certainly help. I don’t think it would solve all of our problems, but it would certainly go a long way in providing much needed childcare,” Dewar said.

Akumalik and Stevenson continued to repeat concerns that the objectives of the daycare could change over time, through turnover on the society’s parent-run board. 

“I’m hoping that what is presented is going to work. At the end of the day we need that daycare,” Akumalik said.

In October, the Qikiqtani Inuit Association increased its childcare subsidy by five dollars each day for Baffin Inuit who have children attending a licensed daycare.

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