Hundreds of BC SPCA supporters and special guests gathered on June 17 for the official opening of a new state-of-the-art Community Animal Centre in Nanaimo to care for the region’s most vulnerable animals. The $3.4 million facility, located on an 11.9-acre property at 154 Westwood Road, was funded through the generosity of the Government of British Columbia, the City of Nanaimo and SPCA donors.
Those in attendance at the opening included the Hon. Michelle Stilwell, B.C. Minister of Social Development and Social Innovation, Nanaimo Mayor Bill McKay and city councillors, BC SPCA chief executive officer Craig Daniell, members of the BC SPCA Board of Directors and other local dignitaries. Also joining in the celebration was nine-year-old Shih Tzu Sophie, the first animal to be adopted from the new centre.
“We are extremely excited about the new centre and are grateful to the Government of B.C., the City of Nanaimo and all the generous animal lovers who have helped make this urgently needed facility a reality,” said BC SPCA CEO Craig Daniell. He noted that new 7,460-square-foot building incorporates modern designs to ensure the highest levels of health and welfare for animals, including shared “apartments” for dogs to encourage natural movement and socialization, communal indoor-outdoor areas for cats, designated areas for temperament and behaviour assessments and specialized isolation areas for sick and injured animals. The centre also includes a multi-purpose space for SPCA youth camps, workshops and other events for the community.
In addition, the centre features two fenced dog parks, one for small dogs and the other for larger dogs, available to the public through an annual membership fee, with all proceeds going to help abused and neglected animals. Dog-park users will also have access to a large patio area to enjoy coffee and soft drinks. The new centre also has a dog-washing area for the public, with proceeds going to help animals in need.
The BC SPCA’s Nanaimo & District Branch has been serving animals in need for more than 40 years, caring for more than 1,300 neglected, abused and homeless animals each year and offering a wide range of outreach, education and advocacy programs to promote the welfare of animals.
BC SPCA Nanaimo & District BranchManager Leon Davis says that in addition to providing a safe haven for animals in need of sheltering and emergency care, the new facility will serve as a resource for pet guardians in the community and will be a transfer hub for Vancouver Island to ensure that vulnerable animals from more remote areas of Vancouver 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 towards the BC SPCA’s $53.8 million, eight-year Facilities Development and Service Plan to replace aging SPCA shelters in 12 B.C. communities.
“All animals deserve to be treated with care and respect and this new facility will help ensure rescued or abandoned animals receive the proper treatment they need,” said the Hon. Michelle Stilwell. “The B.C. government’s commitment of $5 million to the BC SPCA is another step towards protecting the welfare of animals across the province.”
The British Columbia Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is a not-for-profit organization reliant on public donations. Our mission is to protect and enhance the quality of life for domestic, farm and wild animals in B.C.