By Greg Price
Taber Recreation board members have instructed administration to look into options for a new home for Kid Zone, but it looks like the White Room of the Taber Community Centre will not be it as requested by the organization.
A presentation by Kid Zone Child Care Services to the recreation board at its June 4 meeting in looking for new rental space as its contact with Horizon School Division has not been renewed for use of the Central School gym.
There are currently 48 students enrolled with Kid Zone from ages 5 to 11 years old, with over half of them being from subsidized families. Kid Zone offers child care services during school days from 3:20-6 p.m., on Fridays from noon-6 p.m. and school holidays and summer break from 7:30-6 p.m. The program includes healthy snacks, indoor and outdoor activities, and homework time.
“We’ve ran the program for the last 12 years. We also have a program out in Coalhurst,” said Patrick Horvath of Kid Zone Child Care Services. “It’s basically offering child care after school mainly because parents are working. It’s similar to day care, but for older kids. We also go through school holidays like Easter break, Christmas break, Family week, PD days which means we can offer care all day long.”
With two other schools hunting for gym space including Barnwell School who will have their gym out of commission as they do renovations, along with the Taber Mennonite school, Horizon made the decision to allocate the allotted gym space for Kid Zone to them in the future.
Kid Zone operates at a minimum of one staff to 15 youth ratio, and by licensing standards require 2.5 square metres per child which works out to 75 square metres for 30 children which is equal to 807 square feet of floor space.
“This will be our third year with Knox United Church for our summer program, which has been great, but it would be nice to have our program in one place for the whole entire year instead of switching and moving all our stuff,” said Horvath, adding the White Room would be an ideal location for the program with possible access to the nearby Confederation Park and possible rental of the Community Centre gymnasium for play time. “If you guys could work out some sort of agreement with us, either monthly or yearly, you would be guaranteed we are year around as a tenant.”
In the past, Kid Zone has paid $580 per month to the school division for rental space at Central School and $1,000 per month for the summer portion of the program at Knox United Church. Therein was the problem for some recreation board members for Kid Zone’s request for White Room rental time. Apart from the room already having its share of utilization by other interest groups, given those previous rental costs, the town would have to highly subsidize Kid Zone at those prices to keep the service affordable for families where Kid Zone wouldn’t have to raise their prices.
“The White Room is one of the most sought after rental rooms that we have because of its space. This is a very worth while initiative you guys are doing for kids, but I can see that being an issue,” said Randy Sparks, Taber town councillor and Taber recreation board member. “This is a very worthwhile initiative you are doing.”
Aline Holmen, director of recreation for the Town of Taber noted the rate they would charge would be significantly higher than what they were paying Horizon School Division.
“At minimum, our lowest point would be $1,900 and as high as $6,000 depending on their use in the summer months,” said Holmen. “This is based on our current hourly rate. There is nothing in our structure that allows for weekly or monthly rates. That would be something you would have to bring to council. The White Room is the only room that would meet their requirement for size,” said Holmen during discussion period.
Knowing that Kid Zone is a private business entity, it would be setting a dangerous precedent in giving a highly subsidized rate to Kid Zone according to Sparks during discussion period.
“I’ll go out on a limb here. My opinion here, is the people who are renting the facility are paying full price. Taxation on the residents of Taber should not be a subsidizing a private enterprise by making a special deal, irregardless,” said Sparks. “Even though this is a wonderful thing, I’m not knocking this, but the reality is they would be getting a very good deal. It’s going to be very hard to find a facility that meets their needs for the price they have.”
A motion was passed unanimously to accept Kid Zone’s presentation and correspondence for information purposes and request administration search the possibility if the rental room on the back side of the curling rink, formally the pro shop of the Taber Golf Club, would suit the purposes of Kid Zone.