About two dozen parents and kids marched around the Langley Events Centre Saturday afternoon, carrying signs that read, “Kids matter/Invest in child care now,” “we want $10/day child care,” and “vote child care.”
Organizer Alicia Rempel was pleased by the turnout.
“It’s our first year,” she noted.
“It’s not an issue that has typically received much attention.”
There were other stroller brigades in other B.C. communities Saturday, all lobbying for affordable and accessibility child care.
“We would like to see a national child care strategy,” Rempel told the Langley Advance Times.
Among the marchers was a family of five.
Dave Wenzel and his wife have been trying to plan ahead before they settle into their new neighbourhood of Willoughby next year, but one thing they’ve been struggling to check off their to-do list is find child care for their three young children.
“In planning ahead we’ve found that we will have no before and after care for our kids in place due to lack of space availability,” said Wenzel.
Wenzel works in Burnaby and his wife in downtown Vancouver. Wenzel says the only way the pair can accommodate their children’s schedule is if their employer agrees to a four hour workday.
“My wife and I both work to be able to provide a nice home for us to live in and grow up,” he said. “It’s extremely frustrating.”
Their children are currently on a wait list for a local child care facility in the community, but risk losing their $100 deposit if space at the centre doesn’t open up in time to accommodate their family.
The pair will have two girls entering Willoughby Elementary and a son attending Yorkson Creek Middle after they leave their Coquitlam residence.
Wenzel said the after school programs at Yorkson Creek are “sporadic” and not full-time.
He inquired about a township-run two hour after school program called Active Beyond the Bell, which encourages kids to stay active and healthy, but said the school doesn’t participate.
“So frustrating for parents who may have a child of 11 or 12 years old that may not be ready to stay at home for an extended period of time while the parents are working,” he said.
Langley-Aldergrove NDP candidate Stacey Wakelin, whose party has promised to cap day care costs across Canada at $10 a day by 20130, also took part.