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Gayle Waxman


By Rhonda Spivak, February 25, 2014


The old River Heights fire hall on Grosvenor Avenue was sold to the Rady Jewish Community Centre for $410,000 after the recommended bidder (a private group) withdrew its higher offer  of $429,000 unexpectedly.


When asked by the WJR if the private group had been influenced to drop its bid by the publicity in the media, Gayle Waxman said, “I would imagine that the other group assessed its business plan” but added that if it did so as a way of recognizing the community interest in obtaining a daycare, that would be a very laudable action.
According to the Winnipeg Free Press, Jeff Browaty announced that the private group had withdrawn their offer Friday afternoon, explaining later that one of the reasons cited was that local councillor John Orlikow was supporting the Rady JCC offer.
Waxman said she hoped that after the renovations, subdivision and paper work were done, the new daycare with 48 spots will open in 18 to 24 months. "If we can get it done any earlier, we will," said Waxman, noting that she understands how crucial providing Jewish daycare is for  Jewish continuity.


(Editor's Note: On this point, it is worth reading  a recent article in the Times of Israel, "The Best Way to Hook a Jewish Family is Through Its Tots". Studies suggest Jewish preschool can play a vital role not just in providing Jewish education to the tot, but in connecting families to a Jewish community.)


In addition to the 48 spots, the Rady JCC is renovating the current daycare at the Asper Campus to provide for 16 spaces, which they originally thought would have to be allocated to the new daycare.


"Manitoba Child Care approved these spots staying at the Campus such that we are currently renovating 16 spaces. Therefore from the Rady JCC's perspective we have 64 new spots."


The WJR asked Waxman the following two questions:


 1. Does the Rady JCC have the $410,000 to buy the daycare--or will it need to ask the Federation or anyone else for any part of this sum?
2. What is the anticipated cost of the renovation of the firehall, and does the Rady JCC have money for this or will it need to raise the money or ask Federation and or Jewish Foundation to contribute ? 

Waxman responded:


The Rady JCC has done a careful financial analysis and has arranged financing. This initiative will be the most cost effective option we have looked at both in terms of construction and in terms of ongoing operations.   Providing quality daycare care for our children requires a community effort.   We are fortunate that we live in a community that recognizes the role child care plays not just for the families with children in the child care centre, but for the future of our community and will be looking to the community for support.  We will be working closely with our partners, Jewish Federation of Winnipeg, the Jewish Foundation of Manitoba and others in the community who are committed to the future of our children to see this project through. 


When asked how many children are currently on the wait list for daycare, Waxman said "800", but noted that no doubt many are also on other daycare lists. She added that a rule of thumb is to expect and plan for 300 applicants when you have a wait list of 800.


With numbers like these, "there is definitely need for another daycare," Waxman said, but for now, she is "very excited" about working on getting the new one open at the old firehall.


Editor's note: It's is the Rady JCC that will own the firehall. 




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Rhonda Spivak, Editor

Publisher: Spivak's Jewish Review Ltd.

Opinions expressed in letters to the editor or articles by contributing writers are not necessarily endorsed by Winnipeg Jewish Review.