Almost 100 people gathered Tuesday night at the Castlegar Community Complex to see the plans for the new West Kootenay Community Animal Centre.
The BC SPCA facility will be located at 124 Heritage Way, near the Kootenay Gallery of Art. “It will incorporate modern designs to ensure the highest levels of health and welfare for animals … as well as designated space for temperament and behaviour assessments and specialized isolation areas for sick and injured animals,” explained BC SPCA chief executive officer Craig Daniell during the unveiling event.
“As much as the centre will be there for the animals, we really hope that it will also be a gathering place where people from across the region will come together to learn how they can make their communities safer and more humane for animals,” said Daniell. To facilitate that idea, the facility will have a large multi-purpose space that will be used for pet behaviour and training classes, workshops, summer camps and other community gatherings.
The BC SPCA cared for about 1,200 animals in the region last year. The 4,600-square-foot facility will be the central hub for animal rescue in the West Kootenay region.
The project will cost $2 million.
The City of Castlegar donated land valued at $85,000 for the facility. Mayor Lawrence Chernoff and city councillors Florio Vassilikakis, Dan Rye and Sue Heaton-Sherstibitoff attended the event.
“We are very pleased to partner with the SPCA on this project,” said Chernoff. “The West Kootenay Community Animal Centre is a great example of cooperation and partnership…”
“We are incredibly grateful to the City of Castlegar for their amazingly generous donation of land for our facility,” said Daniell. He emphasized that when looking at building a new facility, securing the land is the most important part of the process. “Working with the city was amazing throughout this entire process, thank you so much members of council and staff for all your great work.”
Columbia Basin Trust has contributed $250,000 to the project and CEO Johnny Strilaeff was on hand to participate in the event.
“This new animal care centre fits well with our vision for a thriving and healthy community,” he said.
The Province of B.C. provided $900,000 — almost half of the funding needed.
The BC SPCA needs to raise an additional $150,000 from community donations. As part of the donation campaign they have introduced some special naming opportunities ranging from $1,000 for a memorial bench and $1,500 for a dog kennel to $20,000 for the waiting room and $30,000 for the multi-purpose room.
Donations of any size are welcome, and more information on how you can help or donate can be found at spca.bc.ca/westkootenayscares.