City of North Van considers child-minding during council meetings

City of North Vancouver council could soon be among the first municipalities to offer child-care services to people coming to civic meetings.

Council unanimously passed a motion Monday night directing staff to prepare a report on the feasibility and cost of child-minding services.

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Coun. Jessica McIlroy introduced the motion not long after council listened to a presentation from the North Shore Young Citizens’ Forum on ways to break down barriers to participation in local government for people in the 18 to 38 age group.

“As we’ve mentioned a few times this evening … inclusivity is a priority and value that many of us ran on during our campaigns and it continues to be a priority as we look at our strategic plan,” she said. “I believe we need to look at continued ways of how we change the culture with who engages in our civic activities and our government and make sure we look at ways that we are addressing the inequalities and inequities and the ability of citizens to engage.”

McIlroy said her own participation in council as an elected member requires child care.

Support for the motion was unanimous.

Coun. Tina Hu said she was eager to see what the budget would be, but she noted most school PACs are already offering child minding.

“It’s actually really nice to see if we can provide that service here. That will give young parents more opportunity to join our meetings as well,” she said.

Coun. Tony Valente said the staff should also look into using the city library as a host location.

While Mayor Linda Buchanan was enthusiastic in her support for the idea, she also stressed that parents shouldn’t stay away from council simply because they have kids.

“There is no barrier for them to be with us in our chambers any time with their children. They’re more than welcome,” she said.

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