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West-end day care looks for new home

By Craig Campbell, Dundas Star News

A community day care that has served west Hamilton and Dundas families for almost 40 years is looking for a new home.

But McMaster Children’s Centre board vice-president Catherine Roberts said the early 2013 deadline to leave McMaster University’s Wentworth House won’t force the centre, licensed for 71 children between 19-months and five-years old, to shut down.

“We have a very positive working relationship with the University, and together we are actively exploring several options for a new location,” said Roberts, a Dundas lawyer.

“The new location will have to comply with the size, green space and other requirements of the Ontario Day Nurseries Act, which regulates day care centres in Ontario.”

She said the McMaster Children’s Centre was originally housed in temporary portable buildings when it was founded in 1974. When it moved to Wentworth House in 2004, that location was considered temporary.

“Wentworth House was a designated building site and it would thus be necessary to move again at some point in the future,” Roberts said.

That point came in the summer of 2012, when McMaster University announced Wentworth House would be demolished for construction of a new liberal arts building.

Roberts said the University and Children’s Centre have been working together since then to “find a new and hopefully permanent home for the daycare.”

In the six months since the announcement, the two organizations have not found a suitable new location for the child centre.

The McMaster Children’s Centre was last inspected by Ontario’s Ministry of Education in January 2012, when it was found to be 100 per cent compliant in all areas.

The mandate of the centre is to provide child care to members of the McMaster community, Westdale and west Hamilton.

Roberts and University spokesperson Gord Arbeau said the majority of the families who use the centre are McMaster University faculty, staff or students – many of whom live in Westdale, Ainslie Wood and Dundas.

Ministry of Education spokesperson Andrew Morrision said an existing operator who wants to change the location of a licensed child care centre has to apply for a new licence, as each child care centre licence is issued to a specific site and is non-transferable.

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