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Ground broken for new child care centre

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The United Native Friendship Centre (UNFC), in partnership with Rainy River District Social Services Administration Board (RRDSSAB), celebrated the start of construction yesterday at 821 McIrvine Rd., site of the new $3.2M indigenous-led child care centre.

The new site is located across from the Sports Field beside the Fort Frances High School.

This facility will house a child care centre with 39 spaces, including 10 infant, 15 toddler and 24 preschool spaces.

The provincial government is supporting the project with $2.8M in capital funding. The new centre is expected to be operational by late December 2020. Operational funding is flowed through the RRDSSAB and administered by the UNFC.

“Preparations have been ongoing since the middle of 2019,” said Sheila McMahon, executive director for UNFC.

"It is tremendously exciting to finally be moving forward after purchasing and rezoning the property.

“The new site will further enhance our existing programs and offer culturally appropriate care to our indigenous families,” she added.

“This is another important milestone for the UNFC, to have a single child care site with expanded services to serve the needs of our indigenous community,” said UNFC president Mike Jones.

“We look forward to further opportunities and partnerships to continue improve the quality of care for all families,” he added.

“The RRDSSAB board strongly supports an indigenous-led childcare centre in Fort Frances and we are extremely pleased to be able to further partner with the UNFC in this endeavour,” said RRDSSAB board chair Debbie Ewald.

“This new facility will benefit many families in the future, provide further opportunities for families and provide one more link in stable, dependable and affordable care child care in the Rainy River District,” said RRDSSAB CAO Dan McCormick.

“Together as partners we can continue to provide quality care across our district,” he added.

Local contractor Veldheisen Construction Inc. has been awarded the contract to build the centre, which has been designed by Saulteaux Consulting and Engineering in consultation with UNFC board and staff.

The design has received provincial approval and meets licensing requirements.

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