The regional district wants to hear more about the Trail BCSPCA being shut down next year – and they want it straight from the horse’s mouth.
The BC SPCA sent notice to Grace McGregor, board chair for the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), in late March, confirming the Trail branch will be closed by the end of June 2016, citing the facility’s conditions are detrimental to the health and welfare of people and animals.
“I brought this letter to the board because at the end of the day, if the SPCA is not in our area, it will affect what happens to the mistreated animals,” McGregor told the Trail Times on Tuesday.
“That’s the bottom line. Every once in a while in the news, you see the SPCA stepping into some horrible situation and in my mind, I am thankful they are there.”
In the March 17 correspondence, Craig Daniell, the organization’s chief executive director, says the BC SPCA’s 2013 facilities development and service plan accorded priority to replacement of the Trail shelter, and requested matching capital funding from the RDKB in support of the project.
The proposal was rejected, writes Daniell, leaving no alternative but to cease operations and consider other service models to fulfill the animal welfare mandate in the region.
“Our interest now, of course, is that they (SPCA) talked about grants and many other things but our board still has a lot of questions,” McGregor explained. “Because there is no way the government is going to come up with the money they need, so we want more direction on what they are targeting and where they intend to do that.”
McGregor is referring to Daniell’s statement that the province recently announced $5 million in capital funding to support the BC SPCA’s eight-year facilities development plan.
“There are a whole lot of questions that weren’t answered in that initial letter,” maintains McGregor.
“I really want my board to feel comfortable asking the right people the questions and not getting answers third hand, because there needs to be some dialogue.”
The organization responded to McGregor’s request to appear before the entire RDKB board during the April 30 meeting in Grand Forks.
The meeting is open and the community is invited to attend.
Once the Trail facility closes, the nearest regional BC SPCA will be the Central Kootenay’s Nelson branch.
The BC SPCA previously alerted the regional district about the need for a new animal shelter last year only weeks after McGregor was appointed board chair.
At the time, the organization proposed a joint venture between the RDKB and the BCSPCA to build a new animal centre in a lot on Old Waneta Road.
Daniell wrote the current building at 7700 Highway 3B is 32-years old, in extremely poor condition, and required urgent replacement.
He said the organization demonstrated its desire to remain in the Trail area by purchasing the one-acre parcel of land to serve as the future home for the BC SPCA’s West Kootenay/Boundary Community Animal Centre. The property was purchased for $314,000 with preliminary indications being a 3,000-square foot shelter was required to replace the Trail facility, which Danielle estimated to cost $1.6 million.
Elaine Kumar, RDKB’s manager of corporate administration responded to the proposal, writing after discussing his bid with elected officials, there was “no appetite” at the time to consider the project.