Nanaimo’s new B.C. SPCA building had already adopted out one dog when it was officially opened last week.
Sophie, a nine-year-old shih tzu, went home with her new owner as part of the opening ceremonies hosted for hundreds of B.C. SPCA supporters and special guests Friday.
The state-of-the-art, $3.4-million Nanaimo and District Community Animal Centre is viewed as the development model for the B.C. SPCA’s provincewide $58-million facilities upgrade program.
The centre includes a 690-square metre main building, located on 4.7 hectares at 154 Westwood Lake Rd., and has features to ensure the highest levels of health and welfare for animals, such as shared “apartments” for dogs to encourage natural movement and socialization, communal indoor-outdoor areas for cats, temperament and behaviour assessment areas, and specialized isolation areas for sick and injured animals.
The centre also has a multi-purpose space for SPCA youth camps, workshops and other events. It even has a pet supplies store.
“Moving forward, this is the future of animal welfare and community involvement,” said Leon Davis, B.C. SPCA Nanaimo and District Branch Manager.
The centre also has a dog washing machine, a coffee shop where pet owners can socialize, and off-leash dog parks.
“Off-leash parks can be troublesome sometimes,” Davis said. “There’s nobody managing them, no rules posted or people don’t always follow them. At our dog parks – it’ll be about $15 a month – the dogs will be vaccinated and fixed and it’ll be open 11 hours a day, so you can come down and use the dog parks, wash your dog, buy something in the store, relax with your friends on the patio. It’s totally unique. I think it’s going to be totally cool.”
Davis said in addition to providing a safe haven for animals needing shelter and emergency care, the new facility will serve as a resource for pet guardians in the community and a transfer hub to ensure vulnerable animals from remote areas of the Island can be transported to SPCA shelters for treatment, care and adoption.
Funding for the Nanaimo Community Animal Centre includes $1.3 million from the provincial government. The government announced $5 million in funding in 2015 toward the BC SPCA’s $53.8-million, eight-year facilities development and service plan to replace aging SPCA shelters in 12 B.C. communities.