Community investment proposal for day care

Moosomin Chamber of Commerce:

February 13, 2020, 5:18 am
Rob Paul


Councillor Murray Gray spoke at the January meeting of the Moosomin Chamber of Commerce about a day care proposal.

“I don’t know if it’s a proposal yet, but it’s an idea that we need some input on from some of the stakeholders in our community,” said Gray.

Gray is a member of Moosomin’s Economic Development Committee, which has looked into the expansion of day care within Moosomin.

The current day care, Play Fair Day Care, is full and there’s a waiting list to get in.

Gray said, “it’s licensed for 71 kids and there’s currently a waiting list of 50 kids waiting to go, so there’s some pressure there.”

Gray served as the president of Play Fair Day Care from 2004 to 2010 through the construction of current day care building.

With the hiring of Greg Gillespie as Moosomin’s new Economic Development Officer, Gray is hopeful for growth in the community and says expanding the day care is a priority.

The plan for a day care expansion started a few years ago.

“From the Economic Development Board we started talking about day care,” said Gray. “We worked with the Play Fair Day Care to try and come up with some answers that way.”

“Their board is just not comfortable taking on any more debt,” said Gray. “They have a mortgage on their current building and they’re not in a position to go out and borrow more money.”

With Play Fair Day Care uncomfortable expanding on their own due to cost Gray and the Economic Development Board came up with an alternate plan.

“We brainstormed and came up with the idea to work together with the community in a community investment to raise some capital to build a day care to rent to the existing board.”

The plan is to go to the business community and other stakeholders within community to get an investment to build the building and charge the Play Fair Day Care rent.

“It wouldn’t be an investment that you would see a return on,” said Gray. “It would be an investment you would get your money back at a later date.”

“Your return would be the ability for our community to grow which makes our homes worth more money and our businesses worth more money,” said Gray.

Without enough day care space it makes Moosomin a difficult place for young families to move to, making expansion hard.

“Young families are not going to move here without somewhere for their kids to go.”

“It’s a very very important part of the future of our community,” said Gray. “Not having any day care spaces available will sabotage any plan we come up with to grow.”

Gray said before they move forward with any day care plan they wanted to gauge how the business community felt about the idea.

“This is a different approach,” said Gray. “You’d be laying out the cash in order for it to happen, but you wouldn’t be giving cash. You’d have a building that you’d have a share in.”

“You would get your money back down the road and help promote our community.”

Gray wants to work with Play Fair Day Care to help them expand without putting all of the pressure on them immediately.

Gray said, “ideally what we would look at in working with Play Fair Day Care is that once their mortgage is paid for on the existing bill they would look at purchasing it from the community venture.”

“The day care board is aware of this plan and are very interested in it,” said Gray.

They haven’t looked too far in-depth with cost yet for the day care.

“Rough ball park we looked at was $700,000 to build a building the size that we need,” said Gray. “100 per cent funding is the way it would best work.”

Gray and the Economic Development Board know success is attainable with this plan.

“It’s something that can work. Mainline Terminal is a good example of it,” said Gray.

“We all chip in to build our community and give it the ability to grow.”

Gray and Gillespie want to make the community an even more attractive place for businesses.

“When Greg (Gillespie) talks to businesses about coming here they’re going to talk about health care, day care, school, rec facilities,” said Gray.

“Those are the pillars of your community that you need to build in order to succeed,” said Gray.

Mark O’Rourke of the Moosomin Economic Development Committee pointed out the major importance of day care.

“Every discussion we’ve had from economic development with any business that might be interested in joining our community, I think the first question is always day care,” said O’Rourke.

“If they’re trying to move a business here or if they’re trying to build a business here, they know they’re going to have young families that need those spots,” said O’Rourke.

“If those spots aren’t available... it’s done right there,” said O’Rourke. “It’s a very important piece of the puzzle.”

Young families in the area are a pivotal factor in order for up and coming businesses to succeed.

Moosomin needs a long-term answer for day care and Gray believes this is the way to go.

“We’re looking for a long-term solution that will benefit us for years and years to come,” said Gray.

“We wanted to come up with a model that would work for the future not just today,” said Gray.

When it comes to running the day care privately Gray said, “then it becomes competitive and it can starve both of them out so neither of them can succeed.”

Although this is the plan they’ve come up with, Gray and the Economic Development Board says this isn’t the only option.

“We’re open to anything that will add spaces,” said Gray. “This isn’t the only idea. This is just a idea.”
Gray stressed the importance of figuring out the day care situation.

“It comes up at every one of our Economic Development Board meetings,” said Gray. “We’re finally trying to put something together that we hope will work. It will take all of you to help us make it work.”

Gray asked those interested in the plan or those with thoughts or questions to reach out to him or anybody else involved in the project.

“Community investment is not new,” said Gray. “This is type of thing has worked in other communities.”