New multi-million dollar animal shelter opens its doors

From left: Friends of the New Animal Shelter co-chairs Art Stirling and Marjorie Crew celebrate the official ribbon cutting ceremony at the facility on Park Avenue in Chatham along with Mayor Darrin Canniff and animal shelter project co-ordinator Lynn McGeachy. May 23, 2019. (Photo courtesy of Sophie Marvell and Kiana Mailloux)

After years of planning, the Chatham-Kent Pet and Wildlife Rescue will be moving into a new $2 million building.

The building is owned by the municipality who has contracted their animal care service to the CK Pet and Wildlife Rescue.

“It’s like the end of a journey,” said Marjorie Crew, municipal councillor and the co-chair of an advocacy group for the new shelter.  “I have a lot of community pride and I believe in this community because it stepped up and raised a lot of money… put some skin in the game if you will.”

Crew was one of the dozens on hand for a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday morning.

Construction of the new animal shelter began in June 2018, to replace the previous space built in 1974. After receiving over $800,000 in funding from the municipal government, they put the finishing touches on the building last Friday. The next step is to solidify themselves as the home for the “fuzzy friends” they rescue.

“It’s perfect,” said Crew. “There’s a lot of newer technology with the HVAC [Heating, ventilation, air conditioning] system, and then things we need to give our animals a happy and healthy home.”

The building will not be taking animals until the beginning of June, she added.

Designers stayed relatively on course with the original plan for the new building, according to Crew’s fellow co-chair, Art Stirling.

“We have about as many dog kennels as the original plan [and] about the same space plan for cats,” said Stirling.”We had to make some limitations on our original plan because our costs came in a lot higher than originally anticipated.”

The cost for the actual building came in over budget, added Stirling. The cost was expected to run close to $1.5 million. The actual total was roughly $2 million.

An open house will be held on June 8 at the new shelter, located at 405 Park Ave. E. in Chatham, from 12 p.m. until 4 p.m. Festivities at the open house will include face painting, a barbecue, and baloon animals.

View the pictures below for a look inside:

– With files from Sophie Marvell and Kiana Mailloux