New SPCA facility on track to open next month

Hoping to open after Paws for a Cause, the BC SPCA’s major annual fundraiser

The electricians and contractors are at work, the volunteer base is strong, and the SPCA is in the final push to reopen their doors at their new facility at 891 13th avenue in a space belonging to the Association Francophone de Campbell River (AFCR).

The SPCA has not had a home in Campbell River since early in 2013, when the City awarded the animal control contract for Campbell River 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.

But they’re close to being back, albeit in a more limited capacity.

“The community has been so supportive and so understanding through the process, which is awesome,” said Stephanie Arkwright, manager of the Campbell River branch of the BC SPCA. “As long as everything stays on track, we’re hoping to open after Paws for a Cause,” which is the BC SPCA’s major annual fundraiser. This year’s Paws for a Cause event happens Sunday, Sept. 9 in Nunn’s Creek Park.

Jeanne Landry, executive director of the AFCR, said when she read about them looking for space to come back she called them immediately to offer up the area they will eventually call home.

“We got it rezoned, and then there were building permits and everything…it took a long time,” Landry said, but added that now that the renovations are underway, “it’s coming along faster than I thought I would.”

The new facility is expected to house an adoption and education centre, as well as providing specialized emergency services such as boarding and temporary care for injured wildlife. It will also, according to Arkwright, have a retail area for pet food and pet related products, as well as being a meeting place for their community volunteers and eventually be able to host educational events for the community, some of which will run in cooperation with the Francophone Association.

Thanks to recent approval from the City, two of the SPCA’s old outbuildings from the property on Merecroft Road, out of which the branch operated for years, will also be relocated to the new facility. Arkwright expects that process to be completed by the end of August. Those buildings will add significant interior space to the operation.

The buildings being transferred are, “not your typical garden shed,” Arkwright said. They were built to house animals on the old property, and she expects they will likely be used for the same purpose in their new location.

In terms of the organization’s community services during the renovations, Arkwright said they’re happy to have at least been able to provide their spay and neuter programs during the turmoil. Since Oct. 22, 2013, the organization has spayed or neutered approximately 675 cats with help from a $158,000 grant through Petsmart Charities Canada to subsidize the cost to owners. For a $30 donation to the program (which goes back into the fund for when the grant expires to help them continue the service), any resident of Campbell River can have any owned, feral or community cat spay or neutered. The program runs through October, 2015.

Call Arkwright at 250-830-4192 if you have any questions regarding any of their programs, the new facility, or would like to volunteer to help out, and look for more information about the facility’s opening in an upcoming edition of the Mirror.