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Campbell River SPCA gets huge financial boost from local family

Donation worth $508,000 made to the BC SPCA and to be earmarked for Campbell River
Randy Taylor (left) accepts a plaque from Chief Executive Officer of the BC SPCA

Versal and Jack Hales of Quadra Island used to give $100 to the Campbell River SPCA every year.

At the ribbon cutting to celebrate the opening of the new SPCA facility on 13th Avenue Wednesday afternoon, in front of a packed house of animal lovers and community partners, their nephew Randy Taylor announced they’ve now given much, much more than that.

Jack died recently, according to his nephew, but while on his deathbed, he told Taylor to “make sure (the SPCA) got the money,” and left behind a legacy that, he hoped, would enable the organization to thrive far into the future.

That donation is worth $508,000 to the BC SPCA, and “it is to be earmarked for Campbell River,” Taylor told the crowd. The air went out of the room – in the best possible way.

The SPCA had been without a home in Campbell River since early in 2013, when the city awarded the animal control contract to Coastal Animal Control, a private company based down-Island – a contract previously held by the SPCA and without which they could not remain financially sustainable.

“It’s certainly been challenging at times,” said Craig Daniell, Chief Executive Officer of BC SPCA, who was on hand for the opening on Wednesday, “but we never wavered in our belief that we would find a new home here in Campbell River.”

The newly-opened facility, located behind the Association Francophone de Campbell River was always meant to be a makeshift solution, and with this new funding from the Hales family, it might be even more temporary than they thought.

“My uncle hoped that it would be used for a permanent building for them,” Taylor said. “The facilities here (on 13th) are great, but they’re only temporary.

“It’s time to find them somewhere permanent so they can move forward as an organization. They’re important and they do excellent work.”

Mayor Walter Jakeway echoed that sentiment, saying, “It’s great that we (Campbell River) now have a facility like this,” while also expressing his desire and intent for the city to continue supporting the organization and growing it’s operation within the community.

According to Stephanie Arkwright, branch manager of the Campbell River facility, the current facility will be in use for at least the next three years, the length of the current lease, but with this huge financial boost, it’s safe to say they’re going to be researching their options.

“We’re hoping to come up with about a three-to-five-year plan,” she said, “but with this amazing gift, we’re obviously well on our way to making this long-term goal of having a new permanent facility a reality.”

Arkwright said she’s known about the gift “for maybe a couple of months,” so it was great to see it finally announced.

“When I found out, I have to say, I got pretty emotional,” she said. “I was blown away, and I think the community was a little bit, too, when they showed up for the grand opening and got this amazing news, as well.”

The new facility on 13th Avenue is now open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and has rooms set aside for small dogs, cats, and other small mammals like ferrets, rabbits and guinea pigs.

The SPCA invited the public to stop in and see what they’re doing anytime during these business hours, and thank them for their commitment and dedication to what they do as an organization and for the community as they continue their work.


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