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Campbell River to reconsider decision on animal welfare contract

City council will meet with the BC SPCA to discuss a way to bring the animal welfare organization back to Campbell River

City council will meet with the BC SPCA to discuss bringing the animal welfare organization back to Campbell River.

Council was slated to award the city’s pound services contract to Coastal Animal Control at Tuesday night’s council meeting but held off after an intense public backlash which included a rally outside city hall last week that drew about 400 people.

On Tuesday, more than 100 people packed into city hall for the council meeting to show their support for the SPCA.

Mayor Walter Jakeway began by reading a letter from SPCA chief executive officer Craig Daniell asking city council to reconsider its decision to award the city’s animal pound contract to Coastal Animal Control.

Council planned to give the pound contract to Coastal after the SPCA said it could not afford to continue its operations because council had previously taken the city’s animal control contract away from the SPCA. It was given to Coastal Animal Control which provided the city with a less expensive quote for the service.

“Although the BC SPCA was not awarded the city’s animal control services contract, its animal welfare and adoption services play an important role and an effort should be made to assist the SPCA to maintain its presence in our community,” Jakeway said. “I would therefore recommend city council accept Mr.Daniell’s offer to meet as soon as possible to determine if a mutual solution is possible.”

The BC SPCA wrote on its Facebook page after Tuesday’s meeting that it was pleased council is willing to meet.

“The BC SPCA is extremely pleased that the decision regarding the pound services contract has been deferred and we are excited to meet with the city to continue discussions regarding the future role of the SPCA in Campbell River,” said the posting. “We are overwhelmed by the amazing people of Campbell River – thank you for your support.”

Daniell wrote a letter to council last Thursday, asking the mayor and councillors to meet with the SPCA and come to some sort of an arrangement, though the SPCA did not change its quote for animal welfare services.

“The BC SPCA is of the decision that it is not too late for council to re-examine its decision,” Daniell wrote. “It is apparent that our position is shared by an overwhelming majority of residents in the City of Campbell River.

“For the record, we are committed to a presence and a long-term solution to animal services in Campbell River and are willing to work with the city to achieve this end.

“We renew our offer to provide full animal sheltering services for the city as per our original offer of $95,000 per annum, an amount which I may add would be approximately one quarter of the nearly $40,000 per annum it cost the BC SPCA to operate the Campbell River shelter,” Daniell said.

Coun. Andy Adams agreed the city should meet with Daniell, as the loss of the SPCA has taken a toll.

“It’s been extremely disheartening,” Adams said. “And the information has been suspect at best coming from both sides. All of the information coming from city council and staff has been met with mistrust.”

Adams suggested two members of the public sit in on the meetings.

Veterinarian Helen Kwong and SPCA supporter Cyriel DeBruyne have been chosen to sit in on the meeting which is expected to take place this Tuesday, 11 a.m. at city hall.

Kwong is asking all SPCA supporters to attend a rally at city hall at the same time.