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Campbell River SPCA finds a new home; just needs to secure it

The SPCA could soon return to Campbell River as the society has found a spot for its new animal education and adoption centre.

The BC SPCA has put forward a zoning amendment application in order to open its centre at 891 13th Avenue, the former Francophone Association of Campbell River building which is next to the Navy League Hall and just down the road from Campbell River Common mall.

The zoning application was before council Tuesday night to permit an education and adoption centre as an intended use under the current zoning.

Chris Osborne, city planner, said in a report to council that the proposed use is consistent with what is already permitted on the property and was recommending council approve the zoning change.

“The proposed additional use to the (current) commercial one zone would be consistent with the Official Community Plan, subject to being limited to locations west of Dogwood Street and contained within an enclosed building,” Osborne wrote. “The greatest concern with the proposed use is the impact on adjacent properties due to noise and odour.”

Stephanie Arkwright, who was hired in the fall to be the Campbell River branch manager, said that at a neighbourhood meeting to discuss the proposal with area businesses and residents, the issue of noise was put to rest.

“We did discuss the fact that we would have a minimal number of dogs at the centre and that barking would not be a concern,” said Arkwright who mentioned after the SPCA’s last community meeting in October that there would only be a few dogs at the centre at one time. Arkwright said only one person showed up for the meeting and he didn’t appear to have any concerns.

The SPCA has been without a shelter since last Easter weekend when the society closed its local branch after city council awarded its animal pound contract to Coastal Animal Control. Losing out on that funding left the SPCA with a deficit that it said it couldn’t sustain.

Public rallies and a tremendous outpouring of support for the SPCA prompted the society’s Chief Executive Officer Craig Daniell to announce shortly after the SPCA closure that the society would return to the city but under a smaller-scale model.

The SPCA revealed in August that it would be moving into the Maritime Heritage Centre but city council felt housing an animal shelter in the tourist centre was not appropriate.

Since then, the SPCA had been keeping quiet on a location for its adoption centre.

Osborne said in his report to council that city staff have worked closely with the SPCA to look at several properties throughout the city before finally settling on the 13th Avenue property.

Council was expected to consider the zoning change to accommodate the SPCA at its regular meeting Tuesday evening after the Mirror went to press.

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