A Coquitlam daycare that has a current waiting list for 270 children will expand by 18 spots — without changing its building, playground or parking.
Last Monday, city council granted a development variance permit to Beehouse Montessori Daycare so it can increase its childcare spots from 32 to 50.
Located at 284 Hart St., the large facility now accommodates kids ages 18 months to three years old on the weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Council’s unanimous decision March 1 means the restrictive covenant on the property to limit childcare capacity will be lifted, city staff told council.
The covenant was put in place in 2015 after after neighbours voiced concerns about future traffic tie-ups around the proposed daycare; however, many complaints stemmed from parking by a nearby car dealership that’s since moved.
Meanwhile, Beehouse’s operators also asked council for a reduction in the number of staff parking stalls that are required for the expansion. Under the parking bylaw, the business is supposed to have eight spots for employees but they said most walk to work and another parking stall isn’t needed; they also don’t have room.
Coun. Dennis Marsden, who moved the motion for the variance permit, said he drove by Beehouse when it was open and the front parking lot was empty.
Jim McIntyre, Coquitlam’s general manager of planning and development services, also confirmed there haven’t been any parking-related issues in six years, and the operators now want the full use of the building for their daycare.
“It’s a beautiful facility. We need more of these,” Mayor Richard Stewart said.
Still, he cautioned, council needs to be aware that when parking reductions are made, they can have serious impacts — noting, in particular, the lack of parking at city hall, which contravenes the city’s parking bylaw and can’t be reversed.
Coun. Bonita Zarrillo said more daycare spaces are desperately needed in Coquitlam — especially during the pandemic when parents may be working remotely. Daycare has become “an integral part in family and mental health,” she said.