A rezoning application that would pave the way for a daycare for 25 children received mixed reaction at a Township council public hearing on Jan. 24, and was initially defeated on Jan. 31, then revived and approved later that evening.
Sohilla Qanberry applied to rezone 26994 – 26 Ave. in Aldergrove from residential to community care facility zone to allow her to expand her day care and operate it from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.
There is a shortage of licensed child care facilities in Aldergrove, Qanberry told council. She currently has eight children in her business, Mommy’s Daycare, and the new zoning, if approved, would allow her to have maximum of 25 children in the home she shares with her husband and their children.
Many neighbours wrote in support of Qanberry’s application, and a couple at the hearing told council they had no objections.
However, the application was not without its detractors.
Sam Pandala said the noise is sometimes so loud that his wife, who works night shift, has to sleep somewhere other than at home.
While acknowledging that the children in Qanberry’s care are well looked after, Joan Podgorenko told council what it is like living in a house that backs on to a busy daycare.
Car doors and gates banging at 6 a.m., sensor lights going on and children crying interrupt her sleep. It’s especially annoying on days when she doesn’t have to go to work, Podgorenko said.
Podgorenko said that the vehicles coming and going as caregivers drop off and collect 25 children is too much traffic.
She suggested a solution.
“Large daycares are supposed to be in schools or churches,” she said. “This is supposed to be a residential neighbourhood.”
On Monday, council initially defeated the application on a 4-4 tie (one councillor was absent). A proposal to allow a maximum of 12 children was defeated, as were subsequent limits of 12, 14, and 15 children.
Councillor Charlie Fox was concerned about such a large daycare operating in a residential neighbourhood, and suggested a limit of 12 children.
The number of children Mommy’s now has does not impact the neighbourhood, Fox said.
Councillor Kim Richter agreed that such a large operation does not belong in a residential area.
“It’s still a business,” she said, adding the people who bought homes there did not expect to live next to a “thriving business.”
At the end of the meeting, the application was revived, with the daycare given permission to have a maximum of 15 children, pending a Fraser Health Authority assessment.
In related news, another daycare for up to 25 children in a residential home in Aldergrove was approved two years ago by Township council but still sits vacant. The applicants had to move out of their home to make way for extensive renovations, in order to bring it up to health department standards.
This work has not been completed and there are questions as to whether there will be sufficient room remaining in the residence for it to be used as a residence.
-with files from Kurt Langmann