COMOX, B.C. – The Comox Valley hosted a special guest this afternoon.

B.C.’s Minister of State for Child Care Katrina Chen visited the Tigger Too Early Learning Centre, along with Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard.

The two were on hand to celebrate the centre being named one of 53 new prototype spaces for an affordable child care project across British Columbia.

RELATED: Comox Valley, Port Hardy named among province’s 53 prototype affordable child care projects

The spaces are designed to give families access to child care for a maximum cost of $200 per month. Chen said the development is monumental for communities across all of British Columbia.

“This is only a small portion of our affordability measures, as we have two other measures, through the (Child Care Fee Reduction) and the Affordable Child Care Benefit,” she said.

“If you’re a family in the prototype site, you’ll pay less than $200 a month, and if you’re a family that is not in a prototype site, please look up our two other affordability measures … so we can make sure that through out support, more parents will be able to get a lot of relief from their parent fees.”

Ronna-Rae Leonard said it means a lot that the Comox Valley has been chosen to host one of the prototype spaces.

“53 out of 300 applicants, (this means) you just got to know that there is an awful lot of good quality child care right here at Tigger Too, for the parents in the Comox Valley,” she said.

Spaces at the Comox facility will include 12 for children under 36 months, 23 for kids between the ages of three and five, and 20 for pre-school aged children.

“This means so much for the over 120 families that we serve,” said Charlene Gray, senior manager at the Comox Valley Children’s Day Car Society, which operates the Tigger Too Early Learning Centre.

“”I can honestly say that (at) the parents meeting where I was able to pass on this wonderful news to our families was one of the best days of my career. There were hugs and tears, and more than a little disbelief!”

Gray went on to thank Minister Chen, MLA Leonard, and the provincial government for their continued efforts to improve access to affordable child care in B.C.

The prototypes are funded through an investment of $60 million under the Early Learning and Child Care Agreement with the federal government.