SPCA to propose improvement plans

Campbell River’s facility is one of 10 branches that will benefit from the SPCA’s $50.4-million plan

Campbell River’s SPCA is one of 10 branches across the province that will benefit from the BC SPCA’s plan to replace or renovate aging facilities.

The organization is moving forward with a Facilities Development and Services Plan thanks to a $5-million boost from the provincial government earlier this year.

The plan, which includes an 8-year, $50.4-million strategy to replace or improve SPCA facilities across B.C., involves improving Campbell River’s facility on 13th Avenue.

At its Monday night meeting, council learned that Craig Daniell, CEO of the BC SPCA, is scheduled to further detail the SPCA’s plans at the Nov. 2 city council meeting.

Daniell sent a request to council asking for an extension to the typical 10-minute allowance given to delegations.

City staff recommended council allow Daniell 30 minutes.

Coun. Larry Samson questioned whether council could change the usual 6:30 p.m. start time in order to keep the council meeting from running too late into the evening while still accommodating the extension.

“Is it possible to move up the meeting and have an earlier start to allow this presentation?” Samson asked.

City Clerk Peter Wipper responded that changing the meeting time could present some confusion.

“I’d suggest we stick to our regular time because the general public may be caught by surprise and may miss it if we did,” Wipper said.

Coun. Ron Kerr suggested giving Daniell 20 minutes instead of 30, which council, with the exception of Samson, agreed with.

“Because we’re not looking at a new build here in Campbell River – we’re actually looking at a facility improvement – I think that focusing on Campbell River within a 20 minute time frame will still allow the presenter to be able to talk about some of the other facilities that are a new build,” said Coun. Colleen Evans. “I think a 20 minute time frame should be adequate.”

The facilities the SPCA is replacing are all between 30 and 55 years old. On Sept. 1, the BC SPCA broke ground on a new $3.4-million centre in Nanaimo and in Kelowna, a new 2,500 square foot animal seizure barn opened last week.

A similar barn was also built in Surrey last year and is used mostly to shelter and rehabilitate seized farm animals.

New facilities are also in the works for the West Kootenays, Dawson Creek, Vancouver and Kamloops.

In Campbell River, the SPCA branch is run out of the back of the Francophone Association building on 13th Avenue.

The centre is a smaller-scale SPCA model than what originally existed for years on Merecroft Road.

That original animal shelter was closed over the Easter weekend in 2013 after city council awarded Coastal Animal Control its animal pound contract – a major revenue stream for the SPCA. That was the tipping point for the BC SPCA which had been subsidizing the Campbell River branch for years.

More than a year later, following several fundraisers, protests and a lengthy search for a new building, the SPCA opened its animal adoption and education centre.