Montreal nixes plan to open animal shelter in Saint-Michel
City now wants to open several small service points, managed by a non-profit organization, across the island
Years after the project was first announced, Montreal has given up on a plan to build a municipal animal shelter in Saint-Michel.
The shelter, which was supposed to accommodate up to 12,000 domestic and wild animals, was first announced in 2011 by Gérald Tremblay's administration.
At first, it was slated to open in Angrignon Park in 2016. Then, city planners opted for a bigger location on Pie-IX Boulevard in Saint-Michel and pushed the opening date to 2018.
But the land in Saint-Michel was heavily contaminated, which led to more delays, mainly due to the difficulty of finding contractors interested in bidding on the contracts.
While in opposition, members of Projet Montréal said they disagreed with the location change. The cost also ballooned from an initial estimate of $23 million to more than $40 million.
Jean-François Parenteau, the executive committee member in charge of the file, said the shelter also wouldn't have been accessible by public transit.
He said having only one site is problematic, so now the city wants to open several small service points, managed by a non-profit organization, across the island that will be more easily accessible.
Parenteau said he expects they will be open by the end of the year.
Citizens will be able to adopt an animal at those service points, or drop off a cat or a dog they can't keep or no longer want to keep.
The exact number or locations haven't been determined, but at least one will be located in a central district. Details such as the services and care that will be offered should be made public the spring, Parenteau said.
SPCA pleased with changes
The Montreal SPCA currently holds contracts to care for abandoned animals in 16 of the city's 19 boroughs.
Élise Desaulniers, the organization's director general, said the city's planned changes are good news — if the money and willpower follow.
"We need the city to invest in animal control. We are already at full capacity," she said.
The creation of the centres, she said, will allow the SPCA to focus on public education and protecting animals.
Based on a report by Radio-Canada's Romain Schué