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Support for move toward universal childcare supported by council; Annable Block recognized

The Annable Block is a two-storey brick commercial building with seven store spaces at street level, three on either side of a central entrance leading to apartments at the second storey, and one in the lane. — The Nelson Daily photo

The province is moving towards the creation of a universal childcare plan and the city has moved to support that effort and becomes the 60th municipality to do so.

The city recently approved a resolution to advocate the province’s Child Care B.C. Caring for Kids, Lifting Up Families: The Path to Universal Child Care and recommended that B.C. “fully consider the recommendations from the $10-a-Day Plan and adopt them as it deemed appropriate.

The plan includes several solutions to address childcare issues in the province, identifying three major problems with the delivery of childcare in B.C.

The three problems identified are: the high cost of childcare; the lack of licensed childcare facilities; and, the low wages paid to early childhood educators.

“The plan proposes solutions to make childcare more affordable, accessible and of higher quality,” noted a city staff report to council.

In B.C. the Ministry of Children and Family Development administers childcare fee subsidies and funds certain service providers. The Ministry also registers early childhood education and funds local childcare resources and referral programs.

However, there is no one system of childcare and many providers operate independently.

Overall, the province has

The province has committed to over $1 billion for the next three years, including $237 million to implement “universal child care” and funding the creation of 22,000 new licensed childcare spaces.

The plan could lay the foundation for universal childcare — making childcare available and affordable for any family that wants or needs it — and moves away from the current patchwork of programs and services.

Another layer of heritage added

One of the city’s founding fathers and former mayor has had his namesake and the venerable Annable Block on Ward Street added to the city’s Community Heritage Register.

City council moved to approve a request to put the 107-year-old building on the registry after a request from Nelson Cares — as part of the heritage renewal project for Ward Street Place — explained that “the Annable Block is valued for its association with important Nelson’s pioneers,” noted a city staff report to council.

Ontario-born brothers John Edward (Jack) and George Malcolm (Mac) Annable came out west, settling initially in Moose Jaw, Sask. where they purchased, sold and developed land, expanding into the West Kootenay.

In 1897 J. E. Annable settled in Nelson and lived in the city until his death in 1940.

“From his very first venture as the developer, visionary and manager of the 1899 Nelson Opera House, through real estate and insurance brokering, fruit ranching, lumber business, holding leadership positions on local boards and two tenures as mayor (1912 and 1917), Annable was amongst the most prominent, influential citizens of early Nelson,” the report said.

Nelson Cares drafted a Statement of Significance in compliance with the Local Government Act which requires that any property included on a registry must be identified as to why the property is considered to have heritage value or heritage character.

Since its inception in 2011 there have been 69 heritage properties and features within the City of Nelson included in the registry, with each property possessing character-defining elements.

Properties in the City of Nelson Community Heritage Register are available for review via the city’s website.

Description of historic place

The Annable Block is a two-storey brick commercial building with seven store spaces at street level, three on either side of a central entrance leading to apartments at the second storey, and one in the lane.

The building is located on the northeast corner of Ward and Victoria Streets in Nelson’s “historic” downtown core.

“Constructed in 1912, the Annable Block is valued for its connection to the 1912 building wave in Nelson, for its commercial Edwardian architectural style, for its location on historic Ward Street, for its association with prominent Nelson pioneers and community leaders John Edward Annable (developer and first owner) and Alexander Carrie (architect), as a dual-purpose commercial and residential building since 1912 home to several iconic long-term Nelson businesses, and since 2002 as Ward Street Place, a non-profit social housing complex,” read a city staff report.

The 1890s and early 1900s, Nelson’s major boom years, are reflected in the architecture of the majority of its downtown buildings with their Victorian Queen Anne, Italianate and Boom Town expressions.

“The more restrained, classical expression of the Annable Block’s commercial Edwardian style, in and amongst a commercial core dominated by turn-of-the-century Victorian buildings, is an important surviving representation of this ‘modern’ pre-World War One development era in the city’s history which on the subject block also involved the filling in of Ward Creek,” the report noted.

Since 2002, the building is valued for the social housing model of its residential units run by the non-profit, Nelson Cares, who have introduced an additional seven living units in the basement level.