BLAKE WOLFE The Standard
SCUGOG: After 35 years, the board of a local daycare fears they may be on the move due to a proposed update of a local recreation facility.
Representatives of the Blackstock Cooperative Nursery School, which has operated out of the Blackstock Recreation Centre since the mid-1970s, told The Standard they are leery of what a planned renovation to the facility will mean for their continued operation in that location, after Scugog councillors were presented with the latest update on the renovation process last week.
Among the changes in the renovation plan are the relocation of the facility’s bar area to the room which currently houses the nursery school, a change that the board says could more or less oust the school from the centre.
"By making the room smaller," said board representative Rob Probst, "they will make it physically impossible for us to stay there. Inevitably, if it goes through, we will have to move."
Mr. Probst noted that while the school has not been told by the township that they will have to vacate the room, the renovation would mean that to stay in the facility they would have to make use of the banquet hall - an unlikely scenario given the potential for increased rental fees and the lack of permanent space, he noted.
Mr. Probst said that at this point, a possible alternate location for the nursery school has not been determined.
In the recent presentation to council, architect Nick Swerdfeger, who was hired on by the township to design the facility’s updated look, was quoted as telling councillors and staff that the school had been "fully involved" with the planning process.
Mr. Probst explained that the nursery school board has not been actively involved in the planning process for the renovation.
This week, Recreation and Culture Manager Craig Belfry told The Standard that it was the Blackstock Recreation Centre Advisory Committee that was involved with the planning process and not the nursery school board as previously quoted. He acknowledged that while the nursery school isn’t being pushed out of the facility, they will no longer have exclusive use of the room due to a need identified in the consultation process for a multi-purpose room.
With 22 families currently making use of the nursery school, Mr. Probst said that any changes to the current format will be felt beyond the immediate community.
"Everyone in Blackstock knows someone who's gone there," he noted, adding that in some cases, multiple generations of family members have attended. "But we have families from Cadmus, Burketon and other communities who have kids here... They’re telling us 'we don’t want you to leave but you can’t stay in here.'"
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