The SPCA is committed to serving the region once the Trail shelter closes, but how and what services it will deliver remains up in the air.
The BC SPCA sent notice in late March to Grace McGregor, board chair for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), confirming the Trail branch will be closed by the end of June 2016.
Conditions in the 33-year old facility were deemed detrimental to the health and welfare of staff, volunteers and animals.
The matter was up for discussion during the April 30 board meeting in Grand Forks, when Craig Daniell, BCSPCA chief executive officer, presented service options and clarified the organization was flexible in seeking a partnership with the regional district.
“The presentation further enhanced our understanding of the SPCA’s plans,” Trail Mayor Mike Martin told the Trail Times on Friday.
“They are absolutely committed to retaining a presence in the Kootenays, no question about that. Regardless of what decision is made by the regional district to participate in some way – they will have a presence.”
While no resolutions were made during the meeting, the RDKB board agreed to form a subcommittee to review options that include a new full service facility with kenneling for animal control, and an adoption and education centre with limited veterinary services and no kenneling.
“Their (original) letter was quite positional so one of the things that really encouraged us following the presentation is that they are open to some other options that would be amenable to the regional district,” Martin added.
“While working with the SPCA to meet their needs and our needs in the financial constraints that we believe exist.”
The BC SPCA proposed a venture between the organization, which now has some provincial funding, and RDKB to construct a $1.6 million facility on an acreage previously purchased on Old Waneta Road.
The option was presented in 2014, when the Trail shelter, located on regional land next to the Columbia Pollution Centre, was deemed a priority because it didn’t meet standards of care for animal shelters.
The matter came to light once again because the regional district was given a tight guideline, May 31, to make a decision to contribute $550,000 toward the capital project.
Notably, since the board meeting, the SPCA has delayed the deadline by one month, and maintains full replacement is the preferred option.
“We extended the time frame because we want to be as flexible as possible,” explained Lorie Chortyk, BC SPCA’s general manager of community relations. “But it can’t go longer than a month if we are going to have construction for a new facility. We’d have to begin the planning no later than a month from now.”
The province recently announced $5 million in capital funding to support the BC SPCA’s eight-year facilities development plan, which earmarked funds for Trail.
“This is really an opportunity that may not come again, where we have provincial funding,” explained Chortyk. “We really do want to have the best service possible for the community so that’s why we approached the regional district,” she said.
“These are the community’s animal, and these are issues the community and local governments have to deal with, with or without the SPCA,” she noted, referring to the hundreds of animals the shelter takes in on an annual basis.
“So we really believe that by being there we can be a real support to the community in helping deal with stray dogs, vicious dogs, abandoned dogs and all the cruelty investigations that we do. We want to be working in partnership to provide the absolute best level of service.”