Gladstone gets its daycare spaces



The future location of the Happy Rock Children's Centre.


By Eoin Devereux

Neepawa Banner & Press

The elusive dream of additional daycare spaces in Gladstone is no longer that elusive. On Friday, Apr. 6, the provincial government announced funding for the creation of 780 new licensed child-care spaces. The Happy Rock Children’s Centre (HRCC) proposal is one of the big beneficiaries of this announcement, receiving $447,972 in financial support. 

With this new influx of cash, the HRCC Building Fund Committee has reached its initial fundraising goal of $675,000 and can move forward with the construction of a new modular building, just north of Gladstone Elementary School. The proposal involves 40 daycare spaces, including 12 new spaces for pre-school age children. Currently, the community’s daycare operates out the basement of the Seven Regions Health Centre.

The proposed daycare centre has been in the works in Gladstone for just over six years. Over that period of time, around $300,000 had been raised towards through a combination of donations and events organized by organizations in the community. HRCC board member Sandi Kinley said this day has been a long time coming. 


L to R: HRCC director Jennifer Meloney, HRCC board member Sandi Kinley, Agassiz MLA Eileen Clarke and Municipality of Westlake-Gladstone mayor David Single.

“We are very excited to be able to move on from the fundraising stage to the building stage. We are looking forward to getting started as soon as we can. We’ve been working on this for about six years, a long six years,” stated Kinley.

HRCC director Jennifer Meloney echoed Kinley’s excitement regarding the announcement, adding that the construction plans are all ready to go. 

The formal announcement on the Gladstone funding was made at the constituency office of Agassiz MLA Eileen Clarke. Clarke said that the financial amount provided to Gladstone is incredible. 

“I am very pleased that some of the new [childcare] spaces will help support parents in our community to pursue opportunities to learn and work while providing access to safe and affordable learning and child care programming for their children,” Clarke said.

Westlake-Gladstone Mayor David Single said he has witnessed first hand just how hard the community has worked to make this facility a reality.

“I’ve been involved with this on the building committee for six years, so I have seen just how hard these people have worked and the effort they’ve put into making a plan and the knowledge they have about the rules and regulations, it’s amazing. They’ve done a really good job. I’ve been in there helping, but they’re the ones who have really done the work. And now we can start going ahead. For years, we’ve been saying, ‘If we could just get a grant that would cover [the remaining fundraising goal], we could go ahead.’ This should do it. We may have to do a little more fundraising, but not an awful lot. Maybe for some furnishings. But, thanks to the federal and provincial governments for their support.”

An exact schedule for construction to begin is not yet public, though the representatives of Happy Rock Children’s Centre Committee did indicate that they want to move ahead with this work as quickly as possible.