Coronation Park dodges bullet, for now

CUPE member Sarah Tait pickets outside Coronation Park Day Nursery, which has been threatened with closure. Glenn Ogilvie

CUPE member Sarah Tait pickets outside Coronation Park Day Nursery, which has been threatened with closure.
Glenn Ogilvie

Coronation Park Day Nursery has been given a three-week reprieve.

Lambton County councillors agreed last week to postpone a decision on closing the popular but money-losing facility until June 4.

County staff have advised shutting down the Oak Avenue day care because it’s running a $1.1-million deficit.

But a coalition of staff and parents quickly came together when word of the recommendation broke. They’re upset that councillors were ready to vote May 8 before closure had been debated or alternatives explored.

Sarnia Mayor Mike Bradley has said the layoff of 40 staff would have a “profound impact” on workers, parents and the city.

The problem is a 10% decline in child-care funding from Ontario and relatively high staffing costs. The move to full-day junior kindergarten has also shifted many children to schools, leaving day cares with more expensive to care for infants and toddlers.

A confidential report prepared for county council urged a quick decision so the centre can be shut down by Sept. 1.

Built in 1972, Coronation Park has licensed day care for 94 children to age six, as well as a Best Start Hub, satellite programs and before and after class support for Queen Elizabeth II and St. Benedict school students.

Journal Staff