Nunatsiaq Online
NEWS: Nunavik February 23, 2015 - 5:58 am

Nunavik community finds temporary new home for childcare centre

Working parents have waited six weeks for care

SARAH ROGERS
Kangirsuk’s only daycare centre, Amaartauvik, has been closed since Jan. 8 due to the presence of mould. (PHOTO COURTESY OF NUNAVIKCHILDCARE.CA)
Kangirsuk’s only daycare centre, Amaartauvik, has been closed since Jan. 8 due to the presence of mould. (PHOTO COURTESY OF NUNAVIKCHILDCARE.CA)

The Kativik Regional Government has secured a building to house Kangirsuk’s daycare service on a temporary basis while renovations unfold at the original centre.

Parents in Kangirsuk have been without childcare services since Jan. 8, when the Nunavik community’s only childcare centre was forced to close due to mould.

Staff noticed that a smell coming from the centre’s drains had grown stronger in the weeks leading up to Christmas.

“We never heard anything about it until it closed in January,” said Lucy Grey, whose young son attended the Amaartauvik childcare centre.

Since then, Grey, who works at the Kangirsuk-based half-way house, Makitautik, has had “a patchwork of babysitters” helping care for her son.

She’s even brought in a friend from Puvirnituq to care for him full-time until the new temporary centre opens up.

“For other parents, I’ve seen them bring their kids to work in the amautiks,” she said. “In a community like this, every service impacts the other. It’s kind of part of life here, but it’s still frustrating.”

Amaartauvik, the only childcare centre in the community of 550, would normally care for up to 30 children at a time so its closure has left a number of families without care for more than a month.

“The daycare is really useful for the community, especially working mothers,” said Kangirsuk mayor Elijah Grey.

He said the temporary childcare space is a former sewing centre owned by Makivik Corp. Crews have already begun cleaning out equipment and renovating the space, although he said there is no set date for when the building will be ready for occupancy.

In the meantime, the KRG is tasked with cleaning and renovating the original Amaartauvik centre, which is expected to re-open in the fall of 2015.

The daycare’s director told Nunatsiaq News that the mould issues stem from poor construction — an issue affecting at least four other childcare centres in Nunavik built by the same firm.

Workers had discovered issues with the centre’s indoor plumbing while working at the centre last fall, said Amaartauvik’s director Elisapie Thomassie.

They noted that the wood on the outer part of the building was rotten, allowing moisture to easily enter the structure.

“Whenever it rains or there’s a blizzard, water comes in and mould can form in between the windows and walls,” Thomassie said.

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