Campbell River defends awarding of animal enforcement contract

The bidding process between the SPCA and Coastal Animal Control 'will result in improved service and reduced costs for the taxpayers'

City council’s decision to not award the city’s animal enforcement contract to the SPCA was based on information in a city staff report that recommended council go with Coastal Animal Control to reduce costs for taxpayers.

The report, written by City Clerk Peter Wipper, concluded that the bidding process between the SPCA and Coastal Animal Control “will result in improved service and reduced costs for the taxpayers of Campbell River.”

But money seems to be the furthest thing from taxpayers’ minds.

“There’s just some things in life – sure it’s a lot of money – but it’s the right thing to do to look after animals,” said Nicky Good, a three-year SPCA volunteer, who is devastated to see the SPCA go. “After having the SPCA here for 30 years, it’s a huge step backward for animal welfare.”

The city said it awarded Coastal Animal Control the animal enforcement contract because its bid fit into council’s $164,000 budget and scored well.

The city staff report states that the two bids were evaluated based on experience (worth 25 per cent), qualifications and training (20 per cent), references (20 per cent), and budget (35 per cent).

Wipper said the submissions were evaluated by members of the city’s supply management, legislative services and bylaw enforcement departments and scored out of 100. Coastal Animal Control scored 92.5 while the BC SPCA was given a score of 33.5.

Wipper said in his report that “there is no question that Coastal Animal Control Services would provide the best value to the city…and has provided excellent letters of reference.”

In a news release issued by the city Tuesday afternoon, council said it had “hoped the SPCA would continue to operate in Campbell River, and offered the combination of continued access to the building and a $34,000 grant-in-aid in support of the SPCA’s animal welfare efforts. Unfortunately, even with an offer of $34,000 in grant funding, an amount significantly more generous than the support local SPCA branches are offered in other communities, the SPCA chose to re-locate its operations and the animals in its care.”

Craig Daniell, chief executive officer of the SPCA, said that was not enough for a branch already losing $10,000 per year, and that the bid the SPCA put in was realistic.

“The proposal submitted by the BC SPCA for the contract was the lowest figure we could possibly provide without severely compromising the health and welfare of the animals,” Daniell said in a letter to SPCA supporters. “We believe a dramatically lower bid is unrealistic and could only be offered by reducing the standard of care for animals to an unacceptable level.

“We have seen this happen in other communities, with very serious consequences for animals and residents.”