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Uxbridge responds to concerns from the New Animal Shelter charity organization

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DAN CEARNS, The Standard

UXBRIDGE: After receiving a letter from the New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog charity board of directors (NASUS), the Township of Uxbridge is responding and changing how often they interact with this charity.

At a meeting on Monday, October 18th, councillors voted to receive the letter and have staff create a written response to it. As well as have regular quarterly meetings between the Township of Uxbridge, NASUS and the Township of Scugog.

Mayor Dave Barton also provided a verbal response to the letter at the meeting.

The letter began, “On September 19th, 2018, mayoral candidate Barton told a community meeting he would ensure a new animal shelter would be built for the residents of Uxbridge and Scugog. Three years later, the shelter is not built. The project’s donors, volunteers, and sponsors have no visibility into its status and the strategy to complete the build.”

However, Mayor Barton clarified he said at the time, the project was a priority for himself and the Township of Uxbridge, but he “didn’t commit [that] it would be built during this term of council.”

“I would never commit a blank cheque to a project like this,” Mayor Barton added. “There is a significant [funding] gap in terms of getting this going.”

The letter goes on to state, “from 2011 to 2019, the New Animal Shelter for Uxbridge-Scugog (NASUS) organization contributed over $700,000 to the construction of a new facility to replace the aging, inadequate shelter on Reach Street.”

The Township of Uxbridge has been focused on trying to find multiple funding partners for this project.

“When we’re seeking partnerships, we have to work on the timelines from those partners,” explained Mayor Barton.

The letter questioned the current status of the project, which Mayor Barton pointed out is “in progress, but on hold.”

Communication-wise, the NASUS board of directors wrote, “a meeting in June of 2020 promised ongoing updates, but nothing further has been shared.”

But Mayor Barton took exception with a NASUS comment about him refusing “to respond to multiple requests from NASUS for an update meeting.”

“The last request for a meeting was in May of 2020, and I met with them on June 4th, 2020. There has not been a request for a meeting since. So this is inaccurate information,” he stated. “I don’t hide from meetings. I’ll meet with whoever wants to meet with me.”

Ward 4 Councillor Willie Popp suggested the Township set up a meeting with NASUS to provide an update and later made a motion to hold quarterly meetings with Scugog and NASUS.

Regional Councillor Gord Highet asked Mayor Barton if he planned on providing a written response to the letter. Mayor Barton said he would like township staff to “craft a response to [the letter].”

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