Despite last minute scrambling by District of Sooke staff, Compass Day Care will close at the end of February, leaving some Sooke parents struggling to find care for their children.
“The district came down and met with us last week, and they were really good about trying to help us. In the end, it was too little, too late,” B.J. van den Bergh, Compass Day Care administrator, said.
‘They told us they wouldn’t be asking for the architectural drawings anymore and that the engineer’s report that we still needed wouldn’t be the full report that they were asking for before. But still, it was going to cost us several thousand dollars that we just couldn’t afford.”
The daycare’s troubles began in October when it was notified that due to an administrative “communication error,” the business license it paid for was not issued.
The daycare leased the building and has operated since May based on the approvals it thought it received from the district.
What followed was a series of other requirements demanded from the district. Because the operators didn’t have a business license, the daycare was also forced to reduce its numbers and operate at a loss. This month the daycare operators had no choice but to close its doors.
When the issue was brought to the attention of Sooke’s acting chief administrative officer Raechel Gray by the Sooke News Mirror, she said “something has gone sideways,” and worked to try to save the daycare.
“The owners of the daycare have been operating at a loss for months and the profit margin in daycare is very tight. They just couldn’t afford to meet even the reduced requirements at this point,” said manager Wendy Morneau.
“There are five families still looking for care at this point, and it breaks my heart that I won’t be able to be there for them. We all really cared for these little guys and girls.”
Morneau is doing her best to continue to offer childcare in Sooke as an independent operator, and is searching for a rental location where she can offer infant and toddler care.
“Ideally, we would need a space with a yard for outdoor play, and I would need some help with simple carpentry to put up some shelves. I’d also need some help to move equipment and furnishings into that location,” she said.
“If I can’t pull this together, it would be unfortunate and families needing care will be left scrambling. One family is considering splitting shifts opposite one another until they can get into a spot in September. What kind of a family life is that?”
Anyone willing to help with renovations or with suggestions for a new daycare location can contact Morneau at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For her part, Gray expressed her regret that the daycare has determined that they have to close.
“We tried our best in this case to help the situation, and it’s too bad that it wasn’t enough,” she said.