Construction underway on rooftop childcare centres in Gastown
Two new childcare centres are being built on top of neighbouring parkades in Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood. (Acton Ostry Architects)
VANCOUVER -- Construction has begun on two rooftop childcare centres that are bringing dozens of in-demand childcare spaces to Vancouver's Gastown neighbourhood.
The childcare centres are being built on top of neighbouring parkades at 150 Water St. and 151 Cordova St., and officials said they will provide a total of 74 spaces for infants and toddlers from the city's downtown core and Downtown Eastside beginning next year.
"The creation of childcare facilities on these two Gastown parkade rooftops is a great example of how the city and province are collaborating to take an innovative approach to increasing access to childcare spaces," Mayor Kennedy Stewart said in a statement.
The centres will have 10,000 sq. ft. of combined indoor space and 11,000 sq. ft. of combined outdoors space, which will be connected by pathways and a footbridge.
Construction is estimated to cost around $17 million, in part because of the complications involved in building on rooftops, but taxpayers won't be footing the bill.
The city said the project is being funded through Community Amenity Contributions – cash paid by developers when their projects are approved – as well as a $1 million grant from the province and the Union of B.C. Municipalities.
Vancouver will own and maintain the childcare centres, and they'll be operated by the YMCA of Greater Vancouver on a not-for-profit basis.
The city said additional childcare spaces opening up next year include 69 at Sir Sandford Fleming Elementary School and 89 at Tennyson Elementary, including 20 for school-aged children.
The supply of childcare spaces in Vancouver increased by 1,100 between 2015 and 2018, and the city has set a target of "facilitating the creation" of 1,000 more by the year 2022.
Vancouver is estimated to be 17,000 spaces short of what would be needed to fully serve local families.