TIMMINS -- People in Timmins' South Porcupine neighbourhood are one step closer to getting a new child care facility.

The Northeast District Catholic School Board is receiving $4.3 million from the Ministry of Education to add a child care centre to St. Joseph School in the city's east end.

The board's education director said the goal is to address long-standing demand in the area.

"We understand that spaces are full already in the existing programs available in the area," said Tricia Weltz. "This will provide families with an additional opportunity for childcare services."

The new funding is in addition to around $2 million in provincial startup funding received in 2018, before the pandemic delayed the project.

The facility will include 49 new spaces, with three rooms for different age groups.

It is a collaborative initiative between the school board and Cochrane District Social Services Administration Board, which manages childcare in the district.

Director of children's services Shannon Costello said it's is an exciting step toward filling a capacity gap in the city.

"There will be an infant room, a toddler room and a pre-school room," Costello said. "All three rooms will be built to a full-capacity ratio for three staff."

The vision is for the centre to be state-of-the-art, with the added benefit of being attached to an elementary school, giving children a smoother transition into academic life.

Talks about construction are still underway, Weltz said, as are discussions around an opening date.

Costello said this will certainly help with the large demand for child care in the city, but that more still needs to be done.

She said the federal government's proposed national child care system that would have services cost just $10 a day would certainly see demand surge, and so the city needs to be ready.

"We do definitely need to start looking at where we could be expanding across the city and the district."