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Town of Westlock amending land-use bylaw to accommodate for more child care spaces

Public hearing on amendment slated for March 27
Kali’s Corner in the Rotary Spirit Centre, will be converted into a commercial daycare space operated by the Westlock Child Care Society. Town councillors passed first reading to amend the town’s land use bylaw to accommodate the additional spaces.

WESTLOCK — The Town of Westlock is in the process of amending its land-use bylaw to accommodate a new child-care facility planned for the Rotary Spirit Centre (RSC).

At the Feb. 27 regular council meeting councillors passed first reading of consolidated Land Use Bylaw 2022-12 Amendment Bylaw 2023-03 and set a date for a public hearing for March 27 regarding the amendment.   

The Westlock Child Care Society (WCCS) recently partnered with the town to increase the number of available child-care spaces and as part of the project, Kali’s Corner in the RSC will be converted into a commercial daycare space operated by the WCCS. The land-use bylaw is being amended to allow the space to be changed from its current use of indoor recreation facility to child-care facility.    

“When the Rotary Spirit Centre was approved and constructed under the old land-use bylaw (2004-06) the space was originally designated and used as a child-minding area under that bylaw,” said director of development services Krystle Fedoretz.
“Under the current bylaw the use of child-care facility is not listed in the parks and recreation district.”

Fedoretz told councillors since the space has not continually been used as a child-care facility, it does not meet the definition in the current land-use bylaw.

Under the current bylaw, a child-care facility is defined as a development licensed by the province to provide personal care, maintenance, education, or supervision of children — Fedoretz noted that child-care facilities include daycare centres, nurseries, kindergartens, play schools, after-school programs and baby-sitting programs.

“The definition that we currently have of a child-care facility explicitly refers to supervised care licensed by the province, which the current use of the space and indoor playground, for which patrons pay an admission fee and must supervise their own children, it doesn’t meet,” she said, noting the current use of the space is considered to be an indoor recreation facility just like the rest of the RSC.

Fedoretz noted as the original use of the child-care facility was discontinued, they would not be able use the original approval to allow the space to be reverted back to a child-care facility and in order to accommodate a child-care facility, they are adding the use as a permitted use in the parks and recreation district following the passing of bylaw 2023-03.

“The development authority at that point will then be able to approve the change of use for the space from indoor recreation facility to child-care facility,” she said, adding that the town is owner of all lands (in the) parks and recreation district within town and thus, would have the final say as landowner should another daycare provider want to open a child-care facility on such on lands.

Kristine Jean,