They operated out of a portable at George Pringle Elementary for more than 15 years, but plans to convert the site into a new West Kelowna high school have left a longtime French immersion kindergarten in the lurch.
Le Petit Hibou has found a new home in a portable at Glenrosa Elementary. Now it faces the prospect of turning away half its families or being denied a new operating permit.
“Since our original license over 15 years ago, we now have a mandate to have one washroom for every ten children. So we need two toilets now,” said Kristy Lamont, president of the board of Le Petit Hibou preschool non- profit society.
She says they currently only have one toilet in the portable at Glenrosa Elementary and have only had one. Until now it has never been a problem.
“We also have access to the elementary school restrooms, which are only 60 feet from door to door,” adds Lamont.
The kindergarten has approached MLA Ben Stewart for help convincing Interior Health to grant a waiver so it can operate at its full capacity of 20 students with just one toilet.
“If we put another toilet into our space, we lose floor space that we need for each child. So our capacity at that time would also be reduced.”
Lamont points out that it would leave ten families struggling to find childcare.
“It is clear that our intention is to open in September.
“Without a license, our families cannot apply for grants. Likewise, with the exception, we may be able to open with one restroom, but I don’t know how long it will take the school district (to build the second bathroom).
“They have a high school to build and Webber Road Elementary School that they are currently remodeling to reopen.”
Lamont says at least one other preschool in the area is licensed for more than ten students with only one restroom facility, and she’s pleading with Interior Health to reconsider its decision.
Meanwhile, the clock is ticking, with the start of the school year just a month away.