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YMCA considers opening new childcare site on New Glasgow's east side

The Pictou County Wellness Centre.
The Pictou County Wellness Centre. - SaltWire File Photo
NEW GLASGOW, N.S. —

A prospective new YMCA daycare in New Glasgow could bring positive changes for people who can’t access the services offered at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.

Currently, YMCA serves 56 kids, through its Playing To Learn curriculum. Eight of those spots are for infants, and they are at capacity

“We’ve got 20 kids on our waitlist,” said YMCA Executive Director Tammy Goodwin. “That’s been a pressure for us and a real desire to be able to provide those services.”

The new facility would be located either in or very near to Ward 1, and if the project goes through, would have 50 spots, 16 of which would be reserved for infant care.

At the end of last year, the YMCA’s application to the province for $100,000 in strategic growth funding was accepted. Since then, the YMCA board has been looking for a future daycare location.

Originally there were 13 potential locations. Now there are two.

“We want to open in Ward 1, or anywhere close to Ward 1,” said Goodwin. “There’s a high need in Pictou County for childcare, but the highest need is in Ward 1.”

Ward 1, of course, was where the New Glasgow YMCA had been located originally until it relocated to Westville Road.

The former YMCA building on S Frederick Street in New Glasgow's Ward 1 district.
The former YMCA building on S Frederick Street in New Glasgow's Ward 1 district.

“One of the things that I’ve heard is that the people in Ward 1 miss the Y, and if they don’t drive then they don’t have access,” said Goodwin. “I see this as one way to get back into their community.”

According to Goodwin, accessibility issues will be considered when the YMCA board votes on the location on May 30.

“Every family has one child who needs daycare,” said Rania Al-Methyb about New Glasgow’s newcomer community. “But the daycare right now is far away and the new families don’t have cars.”

Al-Methyb, who works in a restaurant which she and her husband just purchased, has five children. Three of them attend public school, but twice every week her youngest two attend the YMCA daycare on Westville Road.

And while Al-Methyb takes private English classes, other newcomers attend regular lessons at the UPS building on Archimedes St. in New Glasgow’s east side.

“They need to be able to go to their classes, and many have children, so finding a place to go is super important for them to be able to increase language skills,” said newcomer coordinator, Kailee Brennan

“Right now, we’ve just been paying babysitters to help us out while the parents go to school.”

New Glasgow Town Council’s newest memeber says that a second YMCA district would benefit the community

“I do see the need,” said Ward 1 councilor Jocelyn Dorrington. “I think the residents of Ward 1 would support a daycare.”

"With the number of people who work at GlenHaven or the Hospital there’s a need whereby people could actually walk there or walk back with their children." 

According to Goodwin, accessibility issues like walkability is an important factor for the YMCA board which will vote on the location on May 30.

The provincial funding that the Y has received will only cover the capital costs; cribs, toys and all the other supplies needed to run the space. But operation costs will have to come from somewhere else. That’s why the YMCA has started looking for community partners to help make the new daycare sustainable.

“We need some financial support in our partnerships, but we also need staffing. So, there are a lot of things to find and be aware of before we vote,” said Goodwin.

Citizens looking to help can contact:

tammy.goodwin@pcymca.ca

tara.gallant@pcymca.ca

902 752 0202

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