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County celebrates opening of Rockwood childcare centre

Lack of child care spaces remains an ongoing issue in Wellington County, officials say

ROCKWOOD – It was years in the works but a new licensed daycare and EarlyOn centre is officially open in Guelph/Eramosa, though some officials say a child care deficit in Wellington County is still an issue. 

The centre is in a brand new 8,300 sq. ft. building on Wellington Road 27 in Rockwood next to Sacred Heart Catholic School. The building is split in two parts, one side being a YMCA of Three Rivers operated childcare facility and the other an EarlyON centre run by the Community Resource Centre.

This was a collaborative project between the county and the Wellington Catholic District School Board (WCDSB) who submitted a joint proposal to the province. The board also managed the construction and provided land beside Sacred Heart Cathlic School.

The County of Wellington held a grand opening and ribbon-cutting ceremony at the new building Thursday morning attended by local politicians and other dignitaries. 

David Anderson, county councillor and social services committee chair, said there is space for 49 children under four. 

“It will accommodate 10 infants, 15 toddlers and 24 preschool spaces with priority given to families already living in Wellington County,” Anderson said to the crowd, although he later acknowledged in a conversation with EloraFergusToday there is probably a need for more and these spaces will fill fast. 

Luisa Artuso, county director of children’s early years division, also acknowledged the still existing child care gap in Wellington County despite recent efforts to bridge it. 

“Mapleton still does not have a licensed child care facility in the township and Centre Wellington is growing and is in a deficit of childcare spaces,” Artuso said, adding they continue to work on this. 

Warden Kelly Linton said the opening has been long anticipated because funding was first announced in January 2017 and final approvals were given in November 2020. 

“Unfortunately with a lot of things, COVID-19 and supply chain issues pushed back our original date but we’re finally here today together celebrating this exciting opening,” Linton said. 

“We know that quality childcare plays an important role in helping parents work, having full confidence that their children are being looked after in a safe high quality licensed childcare facility.”

Guests who toured the new facility remarked at how nice it was with Guelph/Eramosa mayor Chris White joking he wanted to come play after school.

This opening marks the sixth municipality in Wellington County to have a permanent EarlyOn centre, completing a county goal to have one in each township besides Puslinch as those residents can access care in Guelph’s south end.