The BC SPCA has purchased a 5.5-acre parcel of land in Cloverdale, where it plans to open a new animal centre early next year.
The property, at 16748 50 Ave., will be the site of what the non-profit society hopes will be “one of the largest and most innovative community animal centres anywhere in B.C.”
“We are extremely excited about this new site,” BC SPCA CEO Craig Daniell said.
“Having this link between rural and urban allows us to create a unique setting where the community can come to learn about domestic and farm animals and to join us in making Surrey a leader in animal welfare.”
The society’s Surrey branch – one of 37 SPCA locations in the province – is currently housed in a city-run pound at 6706 152 St.
The SPCA was in the final stages of an agreement to construct a jointly-operated animal shelter with the City of Surrey in Cloverdale, when the city announced last year that it was moving ahead without a community partner.
Meanwhile, The city of Surrey plans to build an animal shelter in the 17900-block of Colebrook road, close to Cloverdale Hyland House, a 35-bed emergency shelter for homeless.
Mayor Dianne Watts has said people staying at the shelter would have the opportunity to volunteer at the city-run, 9,000 sq.-ft. animal facility – and have their pets stay there.
The budget is in place, and Vancouver-based Chernoff Thompson Architects have been retained to design the centre.
The city will pay for the construction of the facility, then put the operation out for bidders. The City of Surrey is expected to be one of those bidders.
“Our first choice would have been to work with the city, but they changed their plan and have not provided details to us with regard to any future involvement with the SPCA,” Daniell said. “The Surrey branch is one of our largest and busiest shelters so we have purchased our own site to ensure that we can continue to serve the residents and animals of the community.”
The BC SPCA will honour its existing contracts with the city to care for animals who come into the municipal shelter under Surrey’s animal control bylaws, and is open to any discussions about future services to the city, he said.
“We will operate our own facility focusing on our core SPCA mandate of animal protection and cruelty prevention, but are certainly open to assisting the city in other ways if they wish,” Daniell said, noting the society will design programs that do not duplicate services offered at the city’s new proposed shelter.
“While the city’s mandate focuses on stray animals and animal-control issues, we will offer our core services of animal protection, sheltering, advocacy and education.”
The BC SPCA has begun a “visioning process” to determine the services and programs that will be offered at the new centre.
“The site has existing structures – two houses and numerous outbuildings – that can be converted for sheltering and adoptions, rehabilitation programs, youth and adult education and a wide variety of other purposes,” Daniell said.
The society envisions a unique, community-friendly complex where the public can view animals for adoption, volunteer, attend education and training sessions on pet behavior, participate in animal-related events and get involved in advocacy campaigns to help animals in need in Surrey.
“One idea that we’re very excited about is the potential to have a farmers market or retail area on site featuring locally produced, humanely raised meat, poultry and dairy products from partners in our SPCA Certified labelling program.
“We will also be exploring partnerships and joint programming with other local groups which promote animal welfare and the human-animal bond.”
The new site is hoped to be operational in early 2012.