VICTORIA -- The B.C. government is planning to make hundreds of new child care spaces available to families in Nanaimo and Port Alberni.

A total of 326 new licenced spaces will be available in Nanaimo and 48 are opening in Port Alberni, with opening dates ranging from this year to 2023.

In Nanaimo, 131 spaces will open at a brand new child care centre, called Inquiring Little Minds. The centre, which is slated to open this November, includes 36 spaces for infants and toddlers, 25 for children aged three to five, 20 spaces for preschool children and 50 for school-aged students.

Meanwhile, 120 additional spaces will open at the Core Education Fine Arts (CEFA) Early Learning Nanaimo centre, which opened in December 2019.

A total of 75 spaces will also open at the Childcare Centre at Vancouver Island University, which is currently under construction. The new facility is expected to open in early 2023.

“Families in Nanaimo have been struggling for far too long to find quality care in their community,” said Katrina Chen, Minister of State for Child Care in a statement Thursday.

“These new licensed child care spaces will support parents returning to work, especially as we transition out of this difficult time.”

On Friday, the B.C. government announced 48 new licenced child-care spaces were coming to Port Alberni.

The child care spots will be available at two different facilities, with 32 opening at the Kackaamin Family Development Centre and 16 coming to the Alberni Valley Saplings centre.

The Alberni Valley Saplings is a new facility that is slated to open in July 2020.

All of the new space are available to children under the age of 12.

“Our community is desperate for more quality child care and we are so pleased that the Childcare BC New Spaces Fund means we can offer that for Port Alberni families,” said Jessica Thompson, co-owner and operator of Alberni Valley Saplings in a statement Friday.