SPCA breaks ground on new Nanaimo shelter

NANAIMO – Construction underway for new $3.4-million B.C. SPCA Nanaimo branch facility on Westwood Road.

Leon Davis

Leon Davis

B.C. SPCA’s Nanaimo branch could be pulling up stakes and moving to its new facility in just a few months.

On Tuesday, about 200 SPCA supporters and their pets turned out for the official groundbreaking ceremony for the Nanaimo shelter’s new facility at 154 Westwood Rd. where construction is already underway.

The community animal centre, which is projected to cost $3.4 million with $1.3 million of that from the province, $150,000 from the city and the remainder from SPCA supporter donations, is expected to open by early to mid summer.

The 700-square metre facility being built on 4.8 hectares of land will enhance or allow features and programs that are either cramped or can’t be done at the Nanaimo branch’s current Labieux Road site.

“We are really focussing on community, so we’re going to have dog walking trails and dog parks, a shop and a patio to drink coffee with your friends,” said Leon Davis, Nanaimo branch manager. “We’re going to be able to expand on all our social welfare programs that we have.”

The new facility will expand its opening hours. The grounds, which will also include dog washing stations, will be open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. seven days a week and the adoption centre will be open on Sundays and two nights a week until 9 p.m., Davis said.

The new opening schedule also means dogs in the shelter can get out for walks with volunteers several times a day and the shelter can accommodate more volunteers. The centre is designed to include multipurpose space for SPCA youth camps, workshops and other community events. The Nanaimo branch cares for about 1,300 abused and homeless animals annually and since the early 1970s has helped more than 50,000 animals.

“We have an amazing group of staff, volunteers and supporters in this region and we know that having this new facility will enable them to make even more of this life-saving difference in this particular community,” said Craig Daniell, B.C. SPCA chief executive officer, during his address at the ceremony.

A fundraising campaign has been launched to support the new facility. Please visit spca.bc.ca/togetherwecare.

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