A vital child care organization dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic has gained some relief from the County of Prince Edward.
During the August 4th Prince Edward County Council meeting, council received a report from the Community Services, Programs and Initiatives Department regarding a request for permit fee relief from the HUB Child and Family Centre. The report and recommendations were received as a Margetson and St-Jean motion.
The request for relief was put forth during the July 23rd council meeting by Susan Quaiff, Executive Director of the HUB. Quaiff cited financial constraints due to COVID-19, making an appeal for relief from municipal development fees. Quaiff also addressed the expansion of the HUB’s Picton facility.
As the report states, the HUB has indicated the need for child care services are growing and should be considered an essential service.
Contained within the report were several recommendations. Staff recommended that council approve the building permit while deferring the collection of fees for one year and that council encourage the HUB to apply to the 2021 Community Grant Program for $17, 281.80 in order to cover outstanding costs.
As well, staff recommended that should the Community Grant application be declined, the municipality should work with the HUB to develop a five year payment program.
Councillor Brad Nieman inquired as to whether or not the HUB might be able to avail themselves of financial help from Prince Edward-Lennox and Addington Social Services (PELASS).
“I think the HUB falls under the umbrella of PELASS. Has PELASS been asked to help out,” Nieman asked.
“I have not got confirmation from PELASS that they could provide assistance for this request. I reviewed the requests from the HUB directly to council and our response is from the perspective of what we have control over,” replied Todd Davis, Director of Community Services, Programs and Initiatives.
Davis added that it would be possible in the future to have a conversation with PELASS about that, though to date, no such conversation has transpired.
CAO Marcia Wallace added that it would be “very unusual” for a service manager such as PELASS to help with a fee imposed by the municipality.
“It would be very unusual for the service manager to fund a fee created by the municipality,” said Wallace. “They fund the service, so staff dollars or a build upgrade, but the permits and fees required by a level of government would be an unusual ask.”
“We can pursue that with PELASS to see if they have any interest or funding lines that would allow that,” she added.
To alleviate any misgivings, Councillor Phil St-Jean noted that he had contacted Quaiff earlier the same day and that she had been comfortable with the recommendations put forth by staff.
“I had a conversation with Susan Quiaff this afternoon for my own benefit,” said St-Jean. “She confirmed she was in agreement with the recommendations.”
Councillor Roberts stressed the need for supporting the HUB, citing Quaiff’s recent deputation wherein she noted there are a growing number of families that rely on the HUB’s services.
“I think this is hugely important,” stressed Roberts. “The HUB is the only licensed childcare facility in the County and we heard from Quaiff that the number of families and children at risk is actually going up, despite some of the issues we’re wrestling with with tourism.”
The HUB is a not-for-profit organization that has been serving the County since 1989. They have a number of programs and services benefiting children aged 0-12.
Currently, their main programs include two licensed centres in both Picton and Massassauga-Rednersville, along with licensed home child care, a resource centre, Ontario Early Years Centre and the Middle Years Program.
They also participate in the Good Baby Box Program and the Good Food Box Program.
For more information about the HUB and their many services/programs, please visit: http://thehubcentre.ca/about/