Accessibility Still an Issue for CSU Daycare

CSU to Find a Solution, Registration Remains Closed

The CSU Daycare is currently inaccessible. The CSU is in talks to fix the issue, with construction set to begin in March 2018. Photo Tristan D’Amours

There is still a glaring issue with the CSU daycare, and it’s a “big deal” according to student parent, Alia Nurmohamed — the lack of a ramp to enter the building.

“If you’re going to have a daycare without a ramp of flat access, you’ve failed before you started because you’re not building for parents, at this point,” Nurmohamed said. “If you’re going to provide a service for a client, [and] if you haven’t understood what their needs are, then at the outset, it demonstrates a lack of diligence from the perspective of market research.”

Parents already have a lot of stuff to carry for class, therefore bringing a stroller up the stairs can be an issue added Nurmohamed.

CSU General Coordinator, Omar Riaz, said that he’s trying to get in touch with a federal representative, Marc Miller to receive a grant of up to $50,000 in order to build a ramp or lift for the daycare.

“Regardless, however we will go ahead and infer these costs from ourselves because accessibility is of the utmost importance,” he added.

There were also talks about building an elevator within the daycare, Riaz said, but because the building is too old, it would be too expensive to retrofit the building with one.

Talks about making the building accessible were happening last year, said former CSU general coordinator, Lucinda Marshall-Kiparissis.

“I think that we made it pretty clear that the building needed to be accessible,” she said.

The Link has not been able to reach the former CSU Academic and Advocacy Coordinator, Sophia Sahrane, who was also heavily involved in accessibility talks.

Concordia Access to Daycares

Concordia University itself has has two child care facilities on campus, one at Loyola, and one downtown. The downtown daycare, CPE Concordia has 73 spots, and the daycare at Loyola, Les P’tits Profs, has 54 spots. Concordia’s professors are prioritized for these daycares.

The Concordia University Student Parents Centre has about 600 parents registered, so Nurmohamed thinks that the demand for student care at the school vastly outnumbers the supply.

Another concern for Nurmohamed is getting access to the service itself.

There is currently no registration list to get into the CSU daycare, but the plan is to get one started around Dec. It is something that the CSU hopes to get regulated soon, said Riaz, after the CSU website is redone by Nov. 12.

Riaz said that he wants to always have a waiting list, so that when one person graduates, there are already people who can take that spot.

There’s still a lot of questions regarding how available the CSU Daycare will be for parents, said Nurmohamed. Questions such as, will parents be able to drop off their kids at a moment’s notice? Will the daycare be open on the weekends during exam time?

Riaz said that the CSU would like to send out a survey in January to student parents to figure out what they want out of the daycare. The CSU is also looking to hire a manager for the same reason.

“We will try to be flexible to fit the needs of student parents,” he added.

What Happens Now

In Nov. 2014, Concordia students voted in favour for mandating the Concordia Student Union to pursue an on-campus daycare. Almost three years later, the daycare project has made significant progress.

Work on the inside of the daycare will begin early next week said Riaz, and it will go on for about 20 weeks, meaning that its doors are expected to open in March 2018.

“This project has taken a long time to come about,” Riaz said. “But it’s because we wanted to make sure that it’s properly done and that it meets the actual needs of students instead of hurrying it up and figuring out that we left holes in our plan.”

Nurmohamed said that the the daycare is a great foundation to build off of.

“I think in universities in general, there’s a lack of emphasis on the student parent just because it’s a non-traditional type of student so from that perspective, I think it’s very progressive,” she added.

So far the CSU has spent $60,000 on demolishing the inside of the daycare, and has planned to spend approximately another $700,000 to $800,000 on its construction. Concordia University helped by paying $60,000, half of the demolition cost, and will be paying about $350,000 of the construction as well.

Correction: The article incorrectly stated that Alia Nurmohamed’s child was on a waiting list to enter the university’s daycare. That line has now been removed. The Link regrets the error.