Saturday , 23 October 2021
The proposed site of the Happy House daycare in Bonnyville.

Happy House Care not approved by Bonnyville town council, owner looking for other options

The proposed site of the Happy House daycare in Bonnyville. 

A Cold Lake daycare looking to expand into Bonnyville was not approved by town council because of location concerns on Tuesday.

Happy House Daycare needed approval from the Municipal Planning Commission to move into a building located at 6210 50 Ave just off of Highway 28/Main Street in a highway industrial area.

Town administration had recommended denying Uta Squire, owner of Happy House Daycare, at Jan. 14’s council meeting because it did not fit their zoning criteria.

They decided to move a decision until Jan. 28’s council meeting.

In two recorded votes on Tuesday, town council was in a deadlock 3-3 (Lorna Storoschuk was in conflict and couldn’t vote) to give the green light to the Happy House: Rene Van Brabant, Chad Colbourne, and Gene Sobolewski voted to approve the daycare and Elisa Brosseau, Brian McEvoy, and Ray Prevost against.

“The big issue was indeed location, location, location and it was in a highway commercial where that use really isn’t permitted. That’s why it came to MPC in the first place. Again, I think the message from council was that they’re absolutely in favor of another daycare coming to the community, but not at that kind of a location,” said Mayor Gene Sobolewski on The Morning After on Wednesday.

“There’s not a lot of ability for pedestrian traffic. There’s a lot of different uses existing around there that really aren’t conducive for a daycare. But more importantly, does it sterilize the area in terms of allowing future development? Particularly since the land-use bylaw allows [it] and that’s a very important bylaw that we rely upon… But again, I think the way it shook out last night was that absolutely in favor and recognize the need of daycare, just not in those kinds of locations.”

The Town had also received concerns from neighbouring landowners about the daycare moving into the industrial area.

“I’m not giving up”

Uta Squire will not let this decision stop her from moving into Bonnyville.

She said she’ll try and find a different location to open.

“I’m not giving up. I know there is a huge need in Bonnyville and so now it’s just we all have to work together and see what there is in Bonnyville. I’m sure there are spots there. We just have to see what’s gonna come available,” she said.

“There are reasons for bylaws and that’s the way it is. That was a location, a building that I found. It just, unfortunately, it was just at the wrong spot. It’s just something that the whole town and everybody in the surrounding area, we just have to put our heads together and find something because it is important to get childcare is a huge need in Bonnyville.”

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.