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County to assist UGDSB with child care centre

by Patrick Raftis

GUELPH - Wellington County is prepared to assist the Upper Grand District School Board (UGDSB) with a potential shortfall for a new child care centre at the Palmerston Public School.

Since 2015, county staff have been working with the school board on the design, requirements, ministry approvals and budgets for the project, notes a report from Luisa Artuso, director of the county’s children’s early years division.

Artuso explained that during a recent meeting with the UGDSB to review the tender process for the project, county officials learned the tenders are higher than the ministry’s capital allocation of $1,542,167. While the board has advocated for additional funds from the Ministry of Education, there has been no confirmation of when, or if, funds may become available.

“It is anticipated that complications will arise with the pending contractor without a timely solution. As a result, the UGDSB has approached the county to fund the shortfall,” Artuso states in the report.

Social services committee chair councillor David Anderson told council on Oct. 26, “They’ve asked the county to see if we could help to cover some of the deferred costs … they’ve asked us, but were still in negotiations. They may be able to absorb some of that within their own budget.”

The report recommended the county approve funding of up to $250,000, to be considered a loan, to be secured by a collateral mortgage secondary to existing mortgages and fully repayable if the school board sells the property or no longer agrees to provide the building for the provision of child care.

The measure would be subject to the county obtaining the consent of the ministry and/or prior mortgagees as may be required by the provincial capital funding and applicable legislation.

The majority of the funds will come from the $200,000 remaining in the county’s Best Start reserve fund for 2017, with a top up from the property reserve fund.

CAO Scott Wilson stressed, “the money that we might make available for the school board is money that we were given by the province a number of years ago just for this type of thing.”

Councillor George Bridge, Town of Minto mayor, stated he was glad to see the county help out “because that facility is sorely needed.”

The board is planning a single-storey 4,558-square-foot building on the northeast side of the Palmerston Public School property.

The facility will include infant, toddler and preschool playrooms, as well as change rooms, laundry, barrier-free washrooms, kitchen, staff facilities and offices.


November 10, 2017


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