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Truro daycare at risk of closing

As both a parent and a board member of Near to Me Daycare, Christine Cutler, seen here with daughter Mallory, is saddened and worried about the facility’s pending shutdown if a new location cannot soon be found. The centre has been in operation since 1990.
As both a parent and a board member of Near to Me Daycare, Christine Cutler, seen here with daughter Mallory, is saddened and worried about the facility’s pending shutdown if a new location cannot soon be found. The centre has been in operation since 1990. - Harry Sullivan

New premises have to be found or operation will shut down by end of the year

TRURO, N.S. - A local daycare centre is on the verge of shutting down after nearly 30 years in operation because it cannot find an affordable new location.

“We’ve been searching the Truro area for a new space that fits our budget and we’re not able to secure a place,” said Liz Flack, director of the Near to Me Daycare centre. “And because we are a non-profit daycare we don’t have a large budget to afford rent.”

For the past couple of years, the centre has been operated out of a local church hall.

Although churches are normally exempt from paying property taxes, new provincial legislation requires that revenue received through space rental must be taxed.

“If they rent to a daycare it takes their exemption away and they have to pay taxes on the portion that the daycare is renting from,” Flack said. “So, then that eliminates a lot of spaces that may be a possibility for non-profit daycares.”

The centre has to move from its existing location by Dec. 31. But with a budget of only $1,000 per month to spend on rent and utilities, trying to find a suitable location that meets day care centre regulations has become a discouraging task, Flack said.

“And we’ve been searching the Truro area for a new space that fits our budget and we’re not able to secure a place,” she said. “We’re really just trying to get as much word out as possible in hopes that somebody knows of a location that may be fitting for us.”

Near to Me is licensed for 29 child-care spaces but has “lost a lot of our children” since the notice of pending shutdown went out to parents. Six staff members also stand to lose their jobs.

Christine Cutler’s four-year-old daughter Mallory has attended the centre since she was 20 months old.

As a parent, board member and former staffer, the prospect of the centre facing permanent closure is both daunting and heartbreaking, Cutler said.

“I’ve cried,” Cutler said, stopping to collect herself.

“Mallory has learned to read, write, draw, colour. She can spell her name, her brother’s name, she writes pretty clear. They do a lot of play with the kids but if the kids want to spend their whole afternoon drawing and colouring they’ll let them do that as well.”

One of the primary reasons Cutler connected with Near to Me was the flexibility the centre provides for parents who can drop their children off as early as 6:15 a.m. It is also open until 7:15 p.m. – others close at 6 p.m. – which provides greater flexibility and access for shift-work parents.

“I just think it’s going to be very sad for Mallory to have to move on to somewhere else and have somebody different taking care of her,” Cutler said. “And I think about the staff. Some of the staff have been here almost since the beginning and now they have to look for other work or they’re out of a job.”

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