The Shuswap Branch of the SPCA is looking for land closer to town for the construction of a new facility.
In a presentation to city council, branch manager Victoria Olynik and regional manager Tracy Westmoreland explained the organization is working towards replacing 12 of its older facilities across the province, including the Salmon Arm location at 5850 Auto Rd. SE.
“It’s an aging shelter,” commented Westmoreland. “We’ve just been over there today, it’s quite cold in there, keeping the animals warm and the people warm is a little challenging. It’s an old and small facility that really restricts the projects and programs we can provide.”
Westmoreland said the SPCA has been working with the province and local governments along the way, and is opening two new facilities, one in Kamloops and one in Dawson Creek. Another in Castlegar was opened in September.
“We’re already doing the youth education, some adult education; however, we could do more…,” said Olynik. “So with a new shelter, we would also be able to be a true community animal centre… We could offer, with more space, dog training classes, more education workshops, have some youth programs right at the shelter where kids can come after school, we can hold community events there, we may even have space to rent out to other businesses who can be there.”
Westmoreland said the top priority locally is securing a new property for a Shuswap community animal centre. She said the branch owns the land at 5850 Auto Rd. and would be able to sell it to support construction of a new facility.
“I talked briefly about a project in Castlegar – it’s a beautiful, bright shelter, it has state of the art animal facilities, room for small animals, a huge, multi-purpose space where we really can connect with the community and provide those more preventatives services, the educational pieces…,” said Westmoreland, who explained the property was provided by the City of Castlegar, which obtained it from the province. “What happened is they identified a piece of land owned by BC Highways that was not often being used, they facilitated a private land transfer and they donated that piece of land to the SPCA. Obviously, a very exciting opportunity for us.”
Westmoreland said she’d like some support from the city to figure out where there might be local opportunities, with preference to being closer to the city.
“We’re a little bit isolated where we are. We want something conducive with walk-in traffic,” said Westmoreland.
City development services director Kevin Pearson said he’s had conversations over the past year with the realtor acting on behalf of the SPCA.