PEI

Expansion on hold as P.E.I. Humane Society struggles to find temporary facility

A massive expansion project at the P.E.I. Humane Society has hit a snag: the group can't find a place to relocate while renovations are underway at the existing facility. 

Group needs facility with both office space and drainage

The expansion project would see the facility triple its size, from 5,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

A massive expansion project at the P.E.I. Humane Society has hit a snag: the group can't find a place to relocate while renovations are underway at the existing facility. 

"We're stuck, we just don't have anywhere that we can go right now," said Ashley Travis, development and communications co-ordinator for the P.E.I. Humane Society. 

The Expanding our Paw Print project — announced in 2019 — was originally budgeted to cost $2.9 million and officials said it'll mean the facility can triple its size, from 5,000 square feet to 15,000 square feet.

The group already has the funds required to get the work started, but work can't get underway until the entire operation can be temporarily relocated. Travis said the organization has spent months searching for alternate locations, and, so far, there's nothing available that fits their needs. 

Ashley Travis, development and communications co-ordinator for the P.E.I. Humane Society, says delays to the expansion project have been disheartening. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

"More often than not, what we're running up against is that the properties don't have adequate drainage for the kennel spaces. We need to be able to sanitize our animal spaces regularly, and that's really hard to find in a building that also has office space," said Travis. 

The temporary location needs to be zoned M1 (light industrial) and officials said the group requires between 5,000 and 10,000 square feet of space — ideally centrally-located on P.E.I.

Travis estimated the temporary location will be needed for 12 to 18 months. 

In addition to requiring office space and an area with drainage, the group would like the temporary space to include an outdoor area to train and exercise the animals. 

'Our temporary shelter is what's holding us back'

"Right now, we're keeping our fingers crossed that something will become available," said Travis. 

"We are willing to wait if we need to, but it's a little bit daunting because there is a huge cost that comes along with that. So if we don't have somewhere to go, we're going to have to delay construction. We're going to have to delay our expansion project."

Officials with the P.E.I. Humane Society say one of the hurdles to finding a temporary location is that the space needs to include drainage so that kennels can be regularly sanitized and cleaned. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

Travis said the group has hoped construction would get started in the summer of 2021 — and the delay is already adding to expenses for the project. She said crews are ready and waiting to get started on the work, and construction costs continue to rise. She said heating and electricity costs at the current location are substantial as well. 

"It's been really disheartening for the team," said Travis. 

"We've all been chugging ahead, expecting that Expanding our Paw Print was going to break ground this year, and it's been really disheartening. It's really taken the wind out of our sails to know that, of all things, our temporary shelter, not even the shelter itself, but our temporary shelter is what's holding us back." 

Another requirement for the temporary space: an outdoor area where animals can get exercise and participate in training. (Jessica Doria-Brown/CBC )

Travis also said plans have evolved in the past two years, due in part to updated Canadian Kennel Club standards. 

"We're very happy to say that we're going to have a very modern, beautiful shelter," said Travis. "We're just a little delayed in the way it's going to come about."

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