Last Updated: Friday - 09/24/2010
Week of February 11, 2008
Primrose Place children and staff need a new home
Presently ensconced in tranquil peace, this special day care must move by June 30
By ALICIA AMBROSIO
“It will be a huge hardship if Primrose closes, not just for me, but for all the families.”
- Lisa Patterson
“You don’t know you’re in the city: it’s secluded, safe and there’s no risk of transients,” said Brabbins.
The only other neighbours in this exclusive cul-de-sac, are the residents of Villa Vianney, a home for retired diocesan priests, Archbishop Richard Smith, and one of the Sisters of Charity who still has an apartment attached to the Primrose Place building.
A daycare facility couldn’t ask for a better location, and the directors of Primrose Place are finding that out the hard way.
The unique centre that provides daycare services to 60 families has been on the grounds of what is now the Catholic Pastoral Centre since 1967.
About five years ago, the centre was told it’s lease would not be renewed when it expired in 2008.
This may have been in anticipation of the move of Newman College to the grounds of the Pastoral Centre. That move was announced in November 2007.
It is now known that the building Primrose Place occupies, as well as the four cottages, will be torn down to make room for Newman.
- WCR photo by Alicia Ambrosia
Parents praise Primrose Place Family Centre staff for the individual care of each child.
Despite the ample warning and the hard work of the centre’s directors, they have not managed to find another location.
Because Primrose Place is a non-profit organization, buying property with a building is just not an option. “We don’t have a lot of money,” said Brabbins.
The directors of Primrose Place have explored other options, such as leasing the Argyll School site, but have been placed on a waiting list with 90 other non-profit groups.
They also tried to lease the Donald Ross school site, but that fell through when it became clear that the repairs needed to make the school site habitable would run into the multi-millions.
“We have grant writers ready to go, but we can’t get the space without the money and we can’t get the grants without securing a space,” Brabbins said.
Primrose Place staff and directors now find themselves on a tight deadline, and even parents are getting in on the search for a new location.
The thought that Primrose Place might not find a new home “stresses me beyond belief” said Lisa Patterson, who has one three year old son enrolled at Primrose Place and one on a waitlist. “So anytime I hear of something that might be an option, I tell the staff at the centre,” she said.
Patterson, an elementary school teacher with the Catholic School Board’s School of Hope, told the WCR that Primrose Place’s daycare program was the only daycare provider that met her own standards as a teacher.
“I feel very, very lucky to have found Primrose.”
She said in her view, the staff handle the children, and the issues that can arise between children in a positive manner and work with each child’s individual issues.
“They also support the family. They’re very focused on the family, which is rare,” she said.
Patterson said she has heard from friends with children in other daycare programs about the conditions and issues that can arise in other facilities.
“I’ve never had any of those problems with my son at Primrose,” she said.
Should Primrose Place not find a new home, Patterson will have no child-care for her children. “We also can’t afford for me not to work.
“There are no words to explain what Primrose means to us. It will be a huge hardship if Primrose closes, not just for me, but for all the families.”
“I’m also a little bit distressed that the archdiocese is not helping Primrose find another location. I’d like to see the archdiocese help Primrose with finding a location. I’m sure there are Catholic schools that are not filled.” Patterson added.
Wayne Provencal, financial administrator for the archdiocese, told the WCR that although the archdiocese has not searched on behalf of Primrose Place, it has helped put Primrose Place in contact with parties who could be of help.
For now, children at Primrose Place are still happily at play. However, with their deadline June 30 fast approaching and property options becoming increasingly scarce, the centre’s days seem to be numbered. Brabbins, her staff, and the parents who have enrolled their children at the centre are hoping that something turns up soon, even if it means getting creative.
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