The struggle to find daycare on the South Island just got harder.

A major daycare in Vic West has announced it is shutting down, pushing dozens of parents into a stressful and financially daunting position.

Parents Jerrett Holst and Brooke Finnigan learned Monday that the daycare their two-year-old son currently attends, Babies to Big Kids Childcare, is shutting down at the end of the month.

The pair is now furiously searching for a new daycare, something they say has been tough in an already tight market.

"We're in scramble mode, so the minute we heard about it we started putting together a plan," said Finnigan.

"There's a lot of disbelief," said Holst. "Pretty big 'oh crap' moment."

There was likely a similar reaction for many of the families of the 70 kids that go to the daycare, which accepts kids between 8 months and 11 years old.

Holst and Finnigan are also worried the sudden closure will cause a ripple effect across the South Island.

"We're sure all of those families are going to be competing with one another to find the ideal spot," said Finnigan.

The owner of the daycare said she's sorry to close, but had no choice because her lease with the Salvation Army, which owns the church, is not being renewed.

"The lease terms were coming to an end, and we were told that the lease would not be renewed, and that we needed to leave," Amber Lamanes told CTV News.

The Salvation Army said it gave the daycare nine months' notice back in April because it couldn't afford renting the building out at such a low price.

Lamanes doesn't dispute the timeline, but said she couldn't keep the business running until January – and that relocating was too costly.

"Business does not make what it appears to make, it is not a lucrative business," she said.

It's left parents like Finnigan and Holst asking their employers for time off this month as they search for a new facility.

"We feel very vulnerable in terms of being working parents and trying to find this, and maintain your agreements with your employer," said Finnigan.