FORT ST. JOHN, B.C. — The local SPCA has started setting up its new location at 10503 89th Avenue.
Adrienne McBride, senior director of community animal centres, said they took possession on March 1st, and the team has started to clean and prepare the building to house animals.
“We’re really getting the warehouse space cleaned, the floors power washed and things like that,” McBride said.
Additional work to the space includes installing large sinks and ensuring there is enough drainage for washing machines. The SPCA has also contacted a kennel supplier to outfit the space for the animals.
The new facility will also have an indoor dog gym.
“I know how cold it is, and that’s not always great for exercising dogs in our care when we’ve got puppies and young, energetic dogs that need a good place to run around,” McBride said.
“I’m really excited to set up the indoor gym in the warehouse space, so we have that option to let them run 365 days a year.”
The dog gym will consist of a non-slip surface or astroturf, a fence, and lots of toys and equipment to make the space exciting for the animals.
Though the space will be bigger, the SPCA isn’t planning on housing more animals, the senior director said.
“We’re just hoping the space that the animals are in can be bigger than they were in the previous facility,” said McBride.
She explained that finding a place that fit the SPCA’s needs was challenging, as they had certain specifications to keep workers, volunteers and animals safe.
Another issue they faced was zoning.
“We don’t wanna be building our animal center in the wrong place, like the middle of a neighbourhood, if we’re gonna have dogs barking and bothering the neighbours,” McBride said.
They also didn’t want the noise of an industrial area to make the animals in care uncomfortable.
McBride said the SPCA appreciated community members offering ideas and listings, adding that they “chased down” every lead.
It took months for the SPCA to find a new location, with help from the city and many options available, including in the Peace River Regional District and Taylor.
The need for a new space came from the old building being declared unsafe last year.
McBride said they had started to look at doing some repairs and renovations at the old building when the contractors, engineers and architects that came through noticed some irregularities.
“I liken it to when you’re a kid, and you build with Lego, and you just stack one Lego block on top of the other without any reinforcement, is not a strong structure,” McBride explained.
“And you go to move it, and it falls down, and so when we started to look into that space, that’s what it was like.”
Visit BC SPCA’s website for more information on community programs, and the whole Community Round-up can be viewed below:
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