SARNIA, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Sept. 4, 2014) - CUPE members are deeply disappointed at the result of yesterday's close vote by council to close Coronation Park Day Nursery. The decision was taken despite pleas from parents and children to keep the child care centre open and against the urging of the Canadian Union of Public Employees (CUPE), which campaigned for creative and collaborative solutions that would have kept Coronation Park open for the children and parents whose needs it served.
"Those councillors who voted to close this 42-year-old facility have thrown the lives of families and workers into chaos, all without making any meaningful attempt to avert it. This vote was recorded and I'm calling on the voters of Sarnia-Lambton to remember this at election time. Eleven councillors have caused needless upheaval in families' lives, laid off workers and denied children the care they need," said CUPE representative Brian Humphrey.
"This was a reckless decision, made in the full knowledge that there is a chronic shortage of child care spaces in Lambton County, especially for infants and toddlers and children with special needs."
Humphrey emphasized that council rushed to make the decision to close Coronation Park Day Nursery, ostensibly for financial reasons. However, the nursery's general manager had earlier reported that there were sufficient funds to keep the centre operating until a more informed decision could be made.
"There was time for a full and open consultation with the community, time to explore options for keeping the centre open. For example, Lambton County could have made full use of provincial mitigation funding to municipalities while we, as a community, investigated ways to keep this centre operating.
"Instead of fighting for this community resource, Deputy Warden Bev MacDougall - herself a City of Sarnia Councillor - along with certain other Lambton County councillors, chose to shirk their responsibilities and instead hold parents, young children and dedicated workers accountable for a lack of reliable funding for child care in Ontario," said Humphrey.
The councillors who voted to close Coronation Park Day Nursery are: Warden Todd Case; Deputy Warden Bev MacDougall; Brooke-Alvinston Mayor Don McGugan; Dawn-Euphemia Mayor Bill Bilton; Enniskillen Mayor Kevin Marriott; Lambton Shores Mayor Bill Weber; Deputy Lambton Shores Mayor Elizabeth Davis-Dagg; Oil Springs Mayor Ian Veen; Petrolia Mayor John McCharles; Point Edward Mayor Larry MacKenzie; and Plympton-Wyoming Mayor Lonny Napper.