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Scugog approves restarting the process to create a new animal shelter

DAN CEARNS The Standard

SCUGOG: The New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog project seems to be taking a step forward, five years after it was put on hold.

At a meeting on Monday, April 15th, Scugog council approved recommendations to initiate the planning phase for a new animal shelter, hire a project manager to oversee the project, and to have a staff report come back to council “including 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.”

According to a report from CAO Ken Nix, the project currently has $2.8 million set aside for facility work at the site and “the cost of a project manager would be shared by both municipalities.”

In 2011, the New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog charitable organization was created to fundraise for a new shelter.

“The current shelter location on Reach Street is at end of life as the current uses have outgrown the capacity of the building. The property could not accommodate the new shelter and had servicing issues related to water and septic, resulting in the need for a new site at 5500 Lakeridge Road,” the report states. “As the current shelter ages, there is continued need for ongoing maintenance and a significant capital investment is required for the building. Since the inception of the fundraising efforts in 2011, there has been a focus not to spend money on the shelter unless it was a matter of absolute need.”

An attempt was made to start construction in 2018, but in 2019 the project was put on hold after costs came in higher than was anticipated. However, a recent donation of $1.1 million from the Estate of Marilyn Ruth Rennie has helped to kickstart the project again.

“This planning phase will allow both councils to make informed decisions in terms of whether they want to proceed to future steps in the process towards a new animal shelter,” Mr. Nix told councillors.

Ward 1 Councillor David LeRoy asked if it’s usual practice to hire a project manager for a project of this size.

“We don’t want to go down any direction that has previously gone down and left it in limbo for a number of years,” Mayor Wilma Wotten responded.

Mr. Nix said both municipalities want to handle the process and the project “the right way” and explained the project won’t feature “Taj Mahal furnishings.”

Mayor Wotten said the municipality’s goal is to “move this forward as expeditiously as we can.”

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