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New 37-space child care to open in New West's new civic facility in May

Sea Otter YMCA Child Care Centre set to open in təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre in New Westminster this spring.
Sea Otter YMCA Child Care Centre will open in New Westminster's new community centre in May.

Sea Otter YMCA Child-Care Centre will soon provide a “playing to learn” environment to more than three dozen kids in New West.

Operated by the YMCA, Sea Otter YMCA Child Care Centre will be able to accommodate 37 infant/toddler and preschool-aged children. It’s expected to open in the təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre in May 2024.

Sea Otter YMCA Child Care Centre will be a licensed early years child-care program led by professional early childhood educators. The program follows the YMCA's “playing to learn” curriculum, which provides children with the opportunity to learn, grow, and thrive while enjoying a safe and welcoming environment. 

Families interested in registering their children can learn more online.

təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre will include an eight-lane, 50-metre pool, a leisure pool with a lazy river, hot pools, a fitness centre, two gymnasiums, multipurpose rooms and community gathering spaces.

təməsew̓txʷ is the hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓ word for “Sea otter house.” It’s a combination of two words –  təməs (sea otter) and ew̓txʷ (house).

Part of the reason why the naming panel selected this name for the facility is that sea otters often represent playfulness and joyfulness, something they felt would be reflected in the new building.

Construction of the child-care space was funded with a $3,045,000 grant from the province’s ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund. The funding is for construction and furnishing of the child-care space.

“For many years before the launch of ChildCareBC, child care wasn’t treated as a necessity, and it left families in New Westminster facing the ongoing challenge of securing reliable child care,” New Westminster MLA Jennifer Whiteside said in a city news release. “We’re changing that. With the establishment of this new child-care centre, we are committed to working with the city to make it easier for New Westminster families to access affordable, quality and inclusive child care because we know it’s life-changing.”

According to the City of New Westminster’s press release, the city has facilitated close to 1,200 child-care spaces since 2010 and has contributed nearly $500,000 in civic grants to non-profit child-care operators to enhance quality and increase availability.

“təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre was carefully designed to meet the needs and priorities of our rapidly-growing community, and a child-care space was a key component of this,” said Mayor Patrick Johnstone. “The City of New Westminster thanks the Province of B.C. for its significant funding contribution to this new child-care facility, and helping us continue to fulfill our commitment to realizing more affordable child care in every part of our community.”

The city also contributed $100,443 towards the construction and furnishing of the child-care facility.

New Westminster city council recently approved a staff recommendation that, subject to completion of required public notification processes, the mayor and city clerk be authorized to execute a lease agreement between the city and YMCA BC for the child-care space in təməsew̓txʷ. The YWCA was selected after non-profit child-care providers were invited to submit proposals.

According to the city, Sea Otter YMCA Child Care Centre will be the third new child-care space to open in New Westminster in the past year through funding support from the ChildCareBC New Spaces Fund. The Queensborough YMCA Kids Club opened in December 2023 and Queensborough K.I.D.S. opened in March 2023.

təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre is a $114.6-million facility that will replace and expand upon services once provided at Canada Games Pool and Centennial Community Centre. The building will be 50 per cent larger than the combined square footage of those two facilities.

Sea Otter YMCA Child Care Centre will celebrate its grand opening as part of the grand opening event of təməsew̓txʷ Aquatic and Community Centre, which is scheduled for June 1, 2024.