The Yukon’s Child Development Centre is seeking a new home as heavy winter snowfall led to the growth of mould in their Lewes Boulevard building.
The non-profit organization, which offers a range of developmental supports and programs for children from birth to their first day of Kindergarten, leases space from the Yukon Government.
An Aug. 13 notice from the government informed staff and the parents of children who use the development centre’s services about the condition of the facility. It states that earlier this year, heavy snowfall caused extensive leaking in the building’s roof.
According to the notice, the government’s department of highways and public works discovered signs of mould while working to fix the leak in July. The government closed the building for testing on July 22 and the presence of mould was confirmed a week later.
“The mould that was discovered is a fast-growing mould, which suggests that it hasn’t been present for very long. Our HPW staff frequently check on the building while performing maintenance and at no time were visual signs of mould present,” the notice reads.
It goes on to say that while the extent of the damage and the remediation required is still being assessed, it is clear that the building won’t be suitable for use by the development centre this year.
A notice on the development centre’s website acknowledged that a few weeks of uncertainty are ahead as a temporary physical space for the centre is found. They pledged to reach out as soon as possible to come up with a plan to support the children.
Anthony DeLorenzo, acting director of realty and capital asset planning with the government’s highways and public works department, said he thinks a solution will be found soon. He said tireless work to find space for the development centre space in another Yukon Government building has been ongoing. DeLorenzo noted that although a specialized space for the centre is needed, he hopes to share that a new location will be finalized soon.
He said in the meantime office space was found for the few development centre staff who work through the summer that can also accommodate training and meetings with the rest of the staff that began Aug. 17. He said even in the absence of a physical space for programs, outreach work and work in the communities will be able to resume as planned.
Michelle King, a program coordinator for the development centre, said the centre’s staff, both seasonal and year-round, has shown resilience and willingness to work toward a solution that will continue to offer support for families. She said the centre is already set up to meet families in their homes or other locations to offer therapeutic support.
King said the programs that will not be able to run without adequate space are the centre’s therapeutic preschool program and some of its other therapy offerings that require private space. She said their building has a gym for physiotherapy, spaces for speech-language pathology and a clinic focused on diagnosing autism and fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD). She said these services cannot be offered in people’s homes.
A space for the therapeutic preschool program with many of the same features as a licensed childcare centre will have to be found before it can resume.
King said it seems likely that the development centre’s programs will be temporarily located at different sites and won’t run as efficiently without a unified space. She added that their existing waiting list will probably grow but they are still taking in new children and trying to get them a first meeting with a therapist within a month.
Contact Jim Elliot at firstname.lastname@example.org