The fate of the BC SPCA branch in Trail remains uncertain following an update at last week’s Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB) meeting in Trail.
Mark Andison, deputy CAO for the RDKB, provided board members with an update on the relocation plans of the local animal shelter.
The status of the Trail-based branch has been up in the air since 2015 when the RDKB board declined to provide any financial help towards the construction of a new facility.
Conditions at the current 33-year old Trail facility were deemed detrimental to the health and welfare of staff, volunteers and animals, which prompted the BC SPCA’s call for support from the district for a new facility.
After the RDKB declined to assist, that forced the branch to begin exploring other options including a possible move to the City of Castlegar, which was offering a site for a new facility at no cost.
Andison said in his report that Castlegar made an application to the province for a free Crown grant to provide a site free-of-charge to the BC SPCA. However, the application to the province was made “quite a while ago and the SPCA has no assurance that it will be approved.”
He added that, based on conversations with the BC SPCA head office in Vancouver, until it has a firm approval for free land from Castlegar and the provincial government, the organization is keeping its options open.
The BC SPCA already owns land locally on Old Waneta Road but would consider selling it to generate money for a new facility in Castlegar.
However, Andison’s report stated that should the RDKB board reconsider its position on capital assistance for new construction, the BC SPCA still is open to dialogue on the issue since the Castlegar situation remains up in the air.
That’s an encouraging sign for Trail Mayor Mike Martin.
“The RDKB board asked the RDKB staff to engage with the SPCA to confirm their current status with regard to the relocation of their facility as the original proposal brought forward to the East End Services Committee (EESC) included some aspects which were concerning to us at the time,” said Martin in an email reply to the Trail Times. “These included the provision of veterinary services along with no willingness to continue animal control and dog pound services. Apparently the position on these three key elements of service has now changed.
“Given this apparent significant change of position by the SPCA and the fact that the land being considered for a relocation into the Castlegar area has not been confirmed, RDKB staff was asked to engage the SPCA in some dialogue with the intent to bring the matter back before the EESC to determine if there is any interest in pursuing further discussions with the SPCA.”
Andison said even if there is a relocation to Castlegar, the SPCA has indicated that they are willing to continue to contract with the RDKB to provide animal control and dog pound services after they have relocated to another facility, even if the new facility ends up being located in Castlegar.
“If the SPCA isn’t able to provide effective animal control services from its new location, the RDKB would likely request proposals from other potential service contractors to do that work for us,” Andison explained in an email reply. “For example, the RDKB currently contracts with the BC Commissionaires for the provision of animal control services in the Boundary region of the RDKB.”