Even though things are moving a little slower than was originally hoped, the BC SPCA is still moving forward with plans to build a new facility in Castlegar.
Some confusion arose last week after Mark Andison, deputy CAO for the RDKB, reported to RDKB board members that the SPCA was keeping its options open pending firm approval of free land from Castlegar and the provincial government. He also stated that according to an SPCA staff member, the organization was still open to dialogue on the issue since the Castlegar situation remains up in the air.
The RDKB board, who originally declined to offer financial help to the SPCA for a new facility, decided to ask their staff to engage with the SPCA to see if any options were available to bring locating the new facility within the RDKB back on the table.
Both John Malcolm, CAO for Castlegar, and Craig Daniell, CEO of the BC SPCA, confirmed however that things are progressing towards a spring ground breaking in Castlegar.
“We are one hundred percent committed to continuing that project,” said Daniell. “We have already appointed an architect for the project, we have a concept design for the project, our next step is going from concept stage to architectural renderings.”
The City of Castlegar has offered the SPCA the land for the $2 million, 4500 sq.ft. facility. The only delay occurring is in the transfer of the land. The land was originally held by the Ministry of Transportation, so the title must first be transferred from the ministry to the city, and then from the city to the SPCA. “The only hold up is out of both the City of Castlegar’s and our hands,” explained Daniell. “That has taken a while, but that is mostly just a bureaucratic thing, in terms of going through those procedures. We are hoping that transfer will take place in the next month.”
The city has already taken care of the necessary rezoning of the land and obtained a license of occupation granted to enable work to be done while the land is actually being transferred. Site preparation work has already begun. “The work that we can do short of actually starting construction, we are actually working in tandem with the city on already,” said Daniell.
The BC SPCA hopes to make a formal announcement in the fall, probably in late October, that will include plans and architectural renderings of the building.
Daniell has been pleased with how things have gone while working with the City of Castlegar. “We have enjoyed a great working relationship with the staff and with council in Castlegar,” he said.
“We are excited about the concept, we are going to be providing a regional service, but we think that Castlegar is a great location from which to do that,” added Daniell. “It has been great working with the city on this particular issue, they have been very responsive and it has been a good process for us to go through.”
Fundraising for the project is still ongoing and anyone interested in donating specifically to this project can do so by contacting the BC SPCA at 604-681-7271 or by dropping by the Trail SPCA branch.
One thing that is up in the air is who will be providing animal control services for the RDKB. “We are more than happy to have a conversation with them [the RDKB] about whether we can continue to provide animal control services for the regional district going forward, but it will be done out of Castlegar,” explained Daniell.