Blueridge daycare may get itsy bit bigger

The Itsy Bitsy Daycare could get a bit bigger after a North Vancouver District council vote that may allow the home-based business to expand from seven to 20 children.

Noting the challenges faced by parents attempting to: “make a go of it in our very expensive community,” Coun. Jim Hanson opted to give the Berkley Avenue project preliminary approval at the April 1 meeting.

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Each child care provider between the Seymour River and Northlands Drive is at capacity with a waitlist for the fall, according to a district staff report. There are approximately 675 school-aged children in the area and 70 out-of-school spaces.

While several residents supported the expansion, a few neighbours expressed concerns over increased noise, traffic and parking problems.

While Coun. Lisa Muri supported the proposal, she stressed the need for careful management.

“Blueridge Park and Hyannis, on a nice evening after school (and) after work, is filled with cars everywhere,” Muri said. “I would just want to also be respectful of the neighbours on either side.”

The daycare’s owner/operator Anna Amiri is “committed to upholding the liveability of the neighbourhood,” according to a district staff report.

To minimize parking concerns, Amiri advanced a plan to have children spend an hour playing at a nearby school or park before taking them back to her home: “where they will remain inside until they are picked up.”

Amiri is also willing to stagger drop-off and pickup times to minimize neighbourhood disruption if necessary, according to the report.

Given the proximity to a school and a park, Coun. Megan Curren said she was hopeful many children would walk or cycle to Itsy Bitsy.

The district hasn’t received any complaints about the daycare in the last three years. The motion to give preliminary approval to the project passed 6-0. Mayor Mike Little did not attend the meeting.

The project needs to be granted a licence from Vancouver Coastal Health before it can proceed.

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