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Process and wait

DAN CEARNS The Standard

As the old saying goes, the wheels of government turn slowly, and with no project does that seem more the case than the New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog. The community, eagerly awaiting the shelter, can't help but feel the weight of this delay.

Scugog Council's agenda for the Planning and Community Affairs meeting on April 15th includes a report calling for the council to start "reinitiating planning" of a new animal shelter.

This report calls for the hiring of a project manager and for a report to come back to Scugog Council with "a process, potential scope, costing, and approximate timelines to build a new animal shelter for Council to consider moving forward on a new Animal Shelter at 5500 Lakeridge Road." Of course, this is the municipality being thorough, but when thinking about this, you have to remember how long this project has been on the books.

The New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog's charitable board was formed in 2011, 13 years ago. This project has been on hold since 2019, after costs came in higher than either Uxbridge or Scugog expected, and at the time, a press release was issued stating Uxbridge would be seeking new community funding partners to help. It took five years for this project to be restarted, and now the process feels like it will be a while longer before shovels can even be allowed to be in the ground. Let's look at the process. With the recommendation in the report, a report must first come back to council so councillors can "consider moving forward." Nothing is guaranteed, and if costs or design or any portions of this project are not what these councillors want, it can lead to further delays in the project process. Not to mention, this is a two-municipality process. If Scugog says yes, Uxbridge needs to say yes, too, for anything to move forward.

Looking further in the report, it stated a "steering committee would be developed to provide oversight of the project beginning with the planning phase." For those unaware of what this means, a committee would be formed, and that committee would send recommendations to the council. More meetings to add to the process. And if, and again, there's no guarantee, the project proceeds past the planning phase, the two municipalities would then need to hammer out a new agreement "to reflect the status of the new site and the shared ownership/services of the new shelter," according to the report.

While this project has had years of fundraising and planning put into it, at this time it seems like residents are going to have to wait a good while longer for the creation of a new animal shelter.

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