Kevin Linder

Lease nears end for bird shelter in Nanaimo

NANAIMO – Greyhaven occupies former Nanaimo SPCA site until December.

Exotic birds taking refuge in Nanaimo face a potential move, with a lease on their current shelter set to expire this December.

It’s seven weeks until Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary loses its lease on the former Nanaimo SPCA, where it’s currently housing about 73 exotic birds from the Coombs World Parrot Refuge.

The City of Nanaimo turned over the lease of the former Labieux Road SPCA earlier this year to Greyhaven Exotic Bird Sanctuary until Dec. 1, the same month the sale of the building and land closes to a private company. It was a stop-gap measure for the non-profit, which is also temporarily housing birds at several locations on the Lower Mainland.

The World Parrot Refuge founder died in February and Greyhaven had to remove birds from the facility by Aug. 1. Jan Robson, communications director for Greyhaven, said the organization began with 584 birds and there are now approximately 250 on the Lower Mainland and 73 in Nanaimo.

The Nanaimo location has been “really helpful” as far as people from the Island being able to meet the birds and the volunteers, who are doing adoptions, being able to take the birds out for home visits, said Robson, although she did say it would be nice if the Dec. 1 deadline was extended a little bit.

A few options for the parrots unadopted by December are being explored by Greyhaven, including if there’s another space in Nanaimo to put the birds or to move them to the mainland, where they’d be distributed among its other locations. Consolidating into one large location is also being looked at.

“Unfortunately, and this has been the case right from Day 1 with this endeavour, is everything has to be kind of by the seat of the pants,” she said.

Adoptions have been steady for the organization, with the majority of adopted birds going to homes on the Island and Greater Vancouver, but donations have slowed down.

Robson said it’s to be expected because the panic is over as far as the public sees it with the birds out of the refuge, but Greyhaven still has to find homes for the birds.

“The costs are significant and we are still getting some donations but nowhere near what we need,” she said, adding the organization is looking at projected costs of about $20,000 to $30,000 a month.

The organization won some grant money from the B.C. SPCA. Please see http://www.greyhaven.bc.ca.

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