Public works yard explored as new home for WAG 

Animal lovers may soon have more reason to volunteer for recycling and garbage drop off duties.

Council is considering a section of the public works yard on Nesters Road as the preferred site for a new animal shelter.

There are two locations in the yard that could potentially house the new home for Whistler Animals Galore. One option is to explore the northern part of the site and the other is to examine the southeast corner between the bottle depot and the road. Each infill option has drawbacks.

"It’s a challenging site," said Kevin McFarland, a municipal parks planner who presented the possibilities to council at Monday’s meeting.

The preliminary drafts call for a building with a footprint of about 100 square metres. It would be two stories and the upper floor would house the WAG offices as well as a new home for the cats.

The shelter would also have open runs and covered canopy runs for the dogs.

Though challenging, the site was chosen in part because it’s a relatively central location and easy to get to for visitors, volunteers and potential adopting families.

The yard is far away from residential areas so as not to disturb neighbours with noise. The closest neighbourhood is Spruce Grove at 170 metres away. The current facility, on the edge of day skier lot four, is 120 metres away from the closest village suites.

McFarland said there is an added benefit of white noise coming from Fitzsimmons Creek and the highway to block out any noise coming from barking dogs.

Another factor in choosing the public works yard for WAG is that the municipality already owns the land.

Council has budgeted $400,000 in the Five Year Financial Plan to build a new WAG shelter.

Councillor Kristi Wells said it was fair to assume that the budget was rather generous in light of the fact that the municipality owns the land and the shelter is only planned to have roughly a 100 square metre footprint.

"I want to be comfortable that we can reduce that budget," said Wells, adding that she doesn’t want to take away from the shelter’s needs.

"It’s going to be a tight budgeting year."

WAG’s current home is a cramped building with four outdoor stalls. Conditions are poor all around for animals, visitors and volunteers and there is limited opportunity to separate or isolate animals in order to reduce their stress and protect them from disease.

Despite these hurdles WAG has been successful in many ways, attracting volunteers and facilitating many adoptions.

The proposal at the public works yard has been reviewed and supported by WAG and council. Now staff will conduct a more detailed site investigation. Construction is slated for summer 2004.

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