Daycare needs highlighted in Penticton debate

Tina Zumpano and six month old Mathias took to the microphone during a public hearing over a rezoning application for a daycare facility on Yorkton Avenue at the April 7 council meeting.

PENTICTON - Residents of a south Penticton neighbourhood made their feelings, good and bad, known about a proposed daycare this week.

The zoning amendment application for 96 Yorkton Ave. first came before council Jan. 12 where it was read for a first time and forwarded to a public hearing three weeks later. Opposition to the rezoning resulted in council postponing a decision until proponent Tina Bootsma had an opportunity to consult with the neighbourhood. The proposal was again vigorously debated in council chambers by a packed gallery on Tuesday, April 7.

Bootsma discussed the issues arising from her consultations at Tuesday’s public hearing. She spoke of Ministry of Children and Families guidelines she would have to follow in the operation of the daycare and said the floorspace in the house on Yorkton Avenue would permit a maximum of 20 children.

She addressed parking, noise and bylaw regulations and noted the neighbourhood surrounding Yorkton Avenue was a growing and developing neighbourhood, other reasons for making the choice to locate there.

Several of those opposed to the rezoning were concerned about commercial development in a residential neighbourhood while others worried about neighbourhood aesthetics, while another resident said the low density nature of the street 'suited their lifestyle.' Bootsma’s profit motive was also suspect, with one resident declaring she would produce a net profit of $70,000 annually.

“How can she contemplate opening a business in such a hostile atmosphere?” he asked.

Others spoke in favour of the rezoning, however, noting the need for daycare in the city, and the growing community. Several residents expressed their appreciation for Bootsma’s other childcare programs, noting wait lists to get into them. 

"We need a place to leave our kids. We need to allow more of this,” one resident said.

One proponent said it was 'mostly snowbirds' opposed to the rezoning, adding the town needs younger families.

“It’s different today. Both parents have to work. We need to understand why these services are needed, and really consider what this issue is all about. We’re trying to accommodate something desperately needed. We need more daycare,” Former Mayor Jake Kimberley weighed in.

Penticton Economic Development Officer Colleen Pennington spoke briefly about the economic impact of daycare centres, noting a chronic shortage of before and after school care facilities locally.

“My advice is, deal with it - embrace the change. Respectfully, Penticton needs your help,” Coun. Tarik Sayeed said in acknowleding the concerns of neighbours.

Council agreed to allow the rezoning, subject to an amendment limiting the hours of operation from 6 a.m. - 7 p.m., Monday to Friday.

To contact the reporter for this story, email Steve Arstad at or call 250-488-3065. To contact the editor, email or call 250-718-2724.

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