Hamilton child care operator picked

The lone applicant to operate a future city-owned child care facility in Hamilton is set to get the job.

City staff are recommending the Society of Richmond Children's Centres be named operator of the facility, to be built at 23591 Westminster Hwy., at Boundary Road, next to a future TransLink bus depot.

TransLink gave the city the one-hectare (2.43-acre) site for a child care centre, along with $1.8 million to build it, in a rezoning agreement that came to council two years ago.

Although designs have yet to be drafted for the child care centre, city staff wanted to secure an operator first to assist in layout.

The Society of Richmond Children's Centres, which operates four other daycares in Richmond, offered the only response to a city call this summer for expressions of interest.

In a report presented to city council's planning committee Wednesday, staff suggested other child care operators may not have met city requirements or simply didn't have the time or resources to complete an application.

Nonetheless, a selection panel decided the society would be a good fit based on its 15 years experience in Richmond.

The society will also be operating a city-owned facility at the 251-unit multi-family Remy development in West Cambie. That facility, according to city staff, is slated to open January 2013—at least six months before the Hamilton facility would be able to open its doors.

Design work hasn't been completed on TransLink's future bus operations and maintenance facility, which will occupy 7.4 hectares (18.2 acres) next to the Hamilton daycare. The facility will be capable of accommodating 350 diesel buses, and employ an estimated 600 people, including 500 drivers.

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