The SPCA will delay opening a new animal adoption and education centre in Campbell River after abandoning plans to locate the facility at the Maritime Heritage Centre.
In late July, the B.C. SPCA announced it had found a suitable location and would set up its animal shelter at the city-owned Maritime Heritage Centre.
One day later, the city said it had never been approached by the SPCA to use its facility and further, the zoning of the site did not allow for the SPCA’s intended use.
On Aug. 13, council did not approve the SPCA’s re-location to the Maritime Heritage Centre which now has prompted the SPCA to start over.
“The BC SPCA is disappointed by the city’s decision not to approve the re-zoning required for the new SPCA education and adoption centre at the Maritime Heritage Centre,” said a BC SPCA news release. “However, the SPCA remains deeply committed to helping animals in Campbell River and looks forward to partnering with the city as we will renew our search for an appropriate space.”
The SPCA’s decision to look elsewhere is a blow to the Maritime Heritage Society which lobbied council to agree to have the SPCA as a tenant.
M.J. (Marv) Everett, president of the Maritime Heritage Society, wrote a letter to council stressing the importance of finding a long-term renter.
“It is essential to the on-going operation of the MHS and the on-going fulfilment of our operating mandate that we find a secure and reliable tenant for the vacant MHC space,” said Everett who claimed council has had “continued indifference and apathy to our numerous pleas over the past several years for a fair, non-oppressive contract.”
Everett also said that if a re-zoning was necessary to accommodate the SPCA, the Maritime Heritage Society was prepared to do whatever it took to make the zoning changes happen.
Meanwhile, the BC SPCA said it chose the Maritime Heritage Centre because it fit the animal society’s needs.
“In our search between March and July, 2013, the Maritime Centre was the only leasehold space the SPCA was able to identify which met our specific requirements,” according to the BC SPCA’s news release. “The re-zoning decision will unfortunately delay the opening of our new centre as we seek appropriate leasehold space, but we look forward to our future.
“To assist us in opening as soon as possible, we are hoping that the community will come forward if they are aware of any leasehold space.”
The space must meet the following criteria:
- 1,600-2,100 square feet at $7-$15 a square foot.
- Water, sewer and natural gas in the leasehold property itself.
- Zoned for kennelling.
- Access to nearby park or walkway to walk dogs.
- Good parking.
- Access to public transit.
Suggestions have already been making the rounds on the Campbell River SPCA’s Facebook page.
Possible options floated include the former Lite Shop on 13th Avenue, Campbell River Common, Sunrise Plaza in Willow Point as well as the former Canada Trust building in Merecroft Village, though the former bank site was ruled out as the rent is out of the SPCA’s price range.