The BC colleges administration had recommended to its board of directors that the centre be closed as early as the end of June.
The proposal was a shock to CUPE 2081 Chief Shop Steward Louise Oetting, who sits on the colleges board.
It all happened so quickly, she said. The local barely had time to act.
In March, the boards finance committee approved a budget for the 60 space, two campus centres budget which employs 24 workers.
There was no indication that a serious deficit was mounting, Oetting said. Then, out of the blue we were told that the child care centres deficit had increased from $50,000 two years ago to more than $250,000 for next year.
Oetting said the local contacted its members and parents of children in care at the centre made contact in the community.
We contacted our members and the centres parents made contacts in the community. The local was fortunate that administration overlooked the possibility that parents and CUPE would be able to mobilize as quickly as they did.
Soon board members were getting emails and letters not only from people concerned about losing badly needed child care spaces but also from the national child care community.
On June 16, the board decided to keep the centre open until it can review the centres operating costs and compare them to other colleges.
We have a reprieve, says Oetting, but in fact our work is just beginning. Were going to have to mount an education campaign to ensure that students, CUPE members and the community at large remain vigilant in demanding that child care be supported and not thwarted.