By Chad Ingram
Published June 21, 2018
The community was shocked last Friday by the abrupt announcement that the board of the Ontario Early Years Centre for Haliburton Victoria Brock would close the licensed childcare centre in Minden, effective this Friday.
Yes, you read that correctly. Parents whose children attend the centre were informed via a letter that they would have one week to find alternate accommodations for their children. One week.
While the closure of the centre is unfortunate, the lack of notice is unforgivable. It is unacceptable. It is appalling.
According to the letter, “ongoing concerns regarding the level of funding for the childcare, coupled with the growing administrative burden,” led to the board’s decision. The letter also explains the intention was not to end licensed childcare in Minden, but to transfer the service to another organization. It says, however, that an agreement with that organization hasn’t been reached, and that the current contract with the City of Kawartha Lakes – which is the social services provider for Haliburton County – expires June 22.
None of that, of course, is the fault of the 50 children who use the centre, or their families, or the families of the additional 40 or so children on its waiting list. The small number of unlicensed daycare operations in the community will undoubtedly be inundated with requests, and it seems unlikely that there will be enough cumulative space for the children who are being displaced.
The centre should not be closed until a reasonable transition plan is in place. Period. That is only logical. If required, the contract with the City of Kawartha Lakes should be extended for an interim period, until a suitable solution can be found. Members of the OEYC board may wish to reassess their ability to make reasonable decisions that affect entire communities, and indeed reconsider if they are able to sufficiently carry out their duties at all. This decision is a calamity of the highest order.
There was a public meeting scheduled in Minden on Wednesday night, meaning this column will have gone to press by the time that meeting occurs. Hopefully, some reasonable, interim solution has been reached by the time these words show up in newsprint.
If not, rest assured this issue will continue to be written about in these pages. This decision is unacceptable and this community will not stand for it.