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HUB gains leeway to move forward on expansion

Weighing support for an essential service, restrictions to waiving fees and setting precedent for similar requests, council agreed with a muncipal staff recommendation to help The HUB Family and Child Services move forward on its expansion.

The HUB Executive Director Susan Quaiff spoke to Committee of the Whole in July, explaining how the COVID-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on its ongoing expansion project.

Facing revised construction tenders increased by $30,000 and a projected deficit of more than $130,000 for 2020 due to the pandemic, the HUB was seeking relief from the municipality for its $17,281 in building permit fees. The HUB has already invested more than $94,000 on the project.

Council can, at its discretion waive the permit fees of $3,660, but Todd Davis, Director of Community Services, in his report, said “development charges cannot be legally waived and must be funded through some alternative means should council wish to provide relief on these fees” of $13,621.

Council approved staff’s recommendation to provide the building permit for the HUB to proceed on its project and defer the collection of the fees. That, said Davis, would allow the HUB time to apply to the Community Grant program for fee relief.

“Should a grant application be unsuccessful, a longer-term collection program could be implemented to allow for funds to be collected in small amounts over five years,” said Davis, “similar to what has been extended to those having difficulty paying taxes or water charges due to exceptional circumstances.”

The current 6,400 sq.-ft. facility at 10 McFarland Drive, Picton, can host 81 children for childcare with an additional 36 spaces in Ameliasburgh. The planned expansion of 3,200 sq.-ft. brings administration and EarlyON programming back into the centre from a rental location and allows the HUB to accommodate increased demand for child care spaces.

Just prior to the onset of the pandemic, a building permit was approved but the effects of COVID-19 dried up revenue as the centre had to close, then re-open through stages.

Childcare is returning under the province’s stage 3 re-opening but the centre will only be allowed to host 45 children – contributing to its projected deficit.

The centre has been offering child care and support for families for 32 years and is the only licensed childcare provider currently available in the community. The HUB offers licensed centre programs in Picton and Ameliasburgh, four before and after school programs, two preschool programs, licensed home care and EarlyON learning programming.

In the past three months, the HUB continued emergency childcare for essential workers during the pandemic, at no cost to parents, relying on subsidies from higher levels of government, and funding through the Prince Edward Lennox Addington Social Services.

Filed Under: Local News

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