During the March 11 regular meeting of city council, members approved a discretionary use application from Centre Éducatif Pomme D'Api to add another 28 childcare spaces at 33 Ominica St. West. 

Sarah Vennes-Ouellet, president of the daycare centre, told council the new space would be opened across the street and provide valuable new licensed and government-subsidized capacity for Moose Jaw’s Francophone residents. 

“Pomme D’Api opened in 2007, and (our new space named) La Petite Pomme would be a second location that we are hoping to open around November 2024, so this year,” Vennes-Ouellet said. 

“We did a Community Needs Assessment, it was submitted in spring 2023 to the Ministry of Education, and we were approved in October 2023 for 28 new infant, toddler, and preschool childcare spaces.” 

Vennes-Ouellet said that demand in the community for francophone childcare spaces — they have a very long waitlist that they simply cannot accommodate. 

“The second location would double our size, and if French families don’t have access to an early childhood daycare in their language, there’s a risk of assimilation that undermines the preservation of the language and culture within our community,” she explained. 

The discretionary use application addressed concerns such as the suitability of the neighbourhood, any increase in traffic, safety concerns associated with a potential in the number of children crossing the street on weekdays, and any impact on parking for the block. 

The daycare will require four new staff members, for whom parking at the rear of the location has already been planned. And, because the new daycare is across from École Ducharme and Centre Éducatif Pomme D'Api and the new space is for preschoolers and toddlers, there should not be any significant change in drivability along the block. 

“Thank you very much for the presentation,” said Councillor Crystal Froese. “You certainly addressed all the concerns that there might be in great detail.” 

Froese wanted more details about the daycare’s waiting list, and Vennes-Ouellet said there are approximately 70 French families looking for spots.  

“But we have even more,” she added, “because we have a policy that French families have priority, but if there is space for more, then other families can also get on the waitlist.” 

Councillor Doug Blanc wanted to know about Centre Éducatif Pomme D'Api’s proposal to advocate for a speed-limit reduction. He directed his question to city administration. 

“If they’re successful in advocating for a reduced speed, how will that affect other school zones, playgrounds, and so forth in our city?” 

In response, administration noted that a recommendation to reduce school and playground zone speeds to 30 km/h is already part of the upcoming completion of the city’s Transportation Master Plan. 

City Council approved the Discretionary Use Application unanimously. 

Location for new francophone daycare in Moose Jaw at 333 Ominica Street West