SPANIARD’S BAY, N.L.
The Baccalieu Trail SPCA is set to break ground on a new animal shelter in Tilton, Spaniard’s Bay this month.
Currently the organization relies on about 15 foster families in the area to take in stray cats and dogs while the SPCA finds permanent homes for them.
The new shelter will be about 3,200 square feet, providing lots of room and a comfortable temporary home for stray animals.
The work to build a new shelter began in 2016 when the group purchased a seven-acre property in Spaniard’s Bay.
In January 2018, the group was optimistic construction would be underway by now.
However, as Sonya Nolan Baker, Courtney Clarke, and Lynette Collins of the BT SPCA explained to The Compass, there have been some bumps in the past few months.
The first hurdle was zoning.
Initially the town council deemed the building would have to be zone commercial. That would have meant many more strict requirements for the building to fit the commercial classification.
Eventually the council agreed the building could be classed as ‘other.’
Another issue was cost.
“When we got a price quote, it was much, much higher than we had anticipated,” Baker said. “We knew we would be a long time before we got it completed, or we would have to make changes.”
The project manager revised the floor plans for the shelter to make the build more affordable.
The original plan was to have move their thrift store from Bay Roberts as part of the shelter.
Now the thrift store will remain in Bay Roberts, but at a new location.
“I know it’s been frustrating for everyone because they haven’t seen progress, and we feel the same way. We’re still doing everything we can to see this become a reality, it’s just going to take more time than we originally thought,” Baker said.
Currently, the SPCA is advertising for a contractor to do prep work for the land.
Clarke says there is a ‘major need’ for an animal shelter in the region.
She says there are simply too many animals to be accommodated by the 15 foster families that currently open their homes to the strays.
The SPCA also gets help from Baccalieu Trail Animal Hospital, Terra Nova Kennels, and Pet Valu in Carbonear to transport and foster animals.
Having one location to house animals will mean those looking to adopt will have to visit just one place to see the animals.
“They will now be able to come to our shelter, as opposed to a foster home that could be in any town, be it Spaniard’s Bay, Victoria, anywhere really,” said Clarke.
“Obviously we’re more than grateful for the people who help us out,” she added, “but this shelter will be big for us, because it’ll offer us so many things that we need.”
While the BT SPCA will continue to rely of foster homes, especially for animals that may require a more homely setting, the new building will allow for plenty of animals to find a temporary home while they await adoption.
The official ground-breaking ceremony for the shelter was scheduled for Sunday, Oct. 14, at 2 p.m.