City of North Vancouver tweaks its daycare rules

The City of North Vancouver has balked on loosening up the process for child-care providers setting up shop in residential neighbourhoods.

Under the old city bylaw, anyone wanting to open a child-care business in a residential area was required to produce a traffic management plan satisfactory to the city engineer, distribute information and solicit feedback from every neighbour within 100 metres and have the application be subject to a public meeting and council’s consideration.

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Aiming to encourage more child-care spaces in the city, staff recommend council eliminate the public meeting, reduce the notification distance to 40 metres and remove the need to collect comments.

But following public input at council May 25, those changes went down to defeat, with Couns. Rod Clark, Pam Bookham, Don Bell and Holly Back, who broke ranks with her council allies, voting in the majority.

At issue was large-scale group child-care businesses, which can hold up to 20 children and don’t require the owner to live on site. There are nine group child-care facilities in the city now. Although most have never been the subject of complaints, one on East Fourth Street has produced a steady stream of noise and traffic complaints from neighbours.

Coun. Pam Bookham moved for council to establish a one-year moratorium on any new such facilities if they included spaces for nine or more children. When it came to a vote though, only Clark supported the motion.

Coun. Don Bell then moved a compromise that would see neighbourhood notification reduced to 40 metres but the public meeting requirement stay in the bylaw. That was enough to win enough votes to pass.

Council will also meet behind closed doors to be briefed by staff on the history of issues with the East Fourth child-care and explore enforcement options.

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