Sylvan Lake’s House of Music is seeking to expand its business by adding a preschool facility to the existing property, according to a presentation made to Sylvan Lake town council on Monday, June 27.
House of Music owner Megan Epp presented business plan information to town council that detailed what the preschool would look like: two classrooms, with 12 students each, with half-day programming for three hours each day with a choice for parents to send their children Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays or Tuesdays and Thursdays, mornings or afternoons.
The preschool would be located on the second floor of the building, while the music studio would continue to run on the first floor.
The preschool would feature a music and fine arts specialized curriculum, according to the council presentation.
Specifically for children ages three and four, the program would be play-based and include music classes for singing, dancing, music theory and aural skills; learning to play drums, guitar, piano and ukulele; fine arts and crafts, such as painting, drawing, clay work, colouring, cutting and gluing; as well as other academic teachings.
There would be a fenced-in grass yard and the building is walking distance to parks and town tourist attractions.
In her proposal, Epp cited the COVID pandemic as one of the main reasons for this business venture.
“Our time navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic was heartbreaking and desperate,” her proposal reads.
“Our numbers dropped to the point of barely being able to keep the doors open, even with the government assistance. If restrictions would have gone on any longer or were any more severe, we would not have been able to stay in operation. However, what we did learn was that the federal and provincial governments considered childcare and early childhood education an essential service.”
The proposal went on to say that, like many other businesses, Epp has realized her business needs to pivot to secure its long-term survival.
“A preschool business platform is much more stable than music lessons,” reads the proposal. “Therefore, securing a more stable and consistent daytime industry will ensure that our current music lesson service will also be able to continue long term in our community, despite economic downturns or struggles in the music industry.”
As part of the development application process, adjacent property owners were notified of Epp’s intentions and the town received five comments. All five letters objected to the additional use, citing parking and traffic issues as a main concern, as well as the concern that this will be bringing more business to a residential area.
Epp was not available by press time to comment on the future development of this business proposal.
Council tabled the application to its July 25 meeting.