It's about time.
Civic politicians did as expected this week and signed off on a contract to build a new animal shelter to be located north of River Road in the Tilbury area. The $4 million price tag, which is for the entire project, including land acquisition, is steep enough to give most taxpayers, even animal-loving ones, reason to pause, but there's no denying a new facility was long overdue.
The existing shelter is, in a word, outdated, having been built 40 years ago to house only dogs. Seven hundred animals - that's almost two new ones each and every day - passed through its doors in 2011, taxing the ability of the cramped, little structure on 80th Street to deal with the volume.
Couple that with the fact it will soon be, thanks to South Fraser Perimeter Road construction, adjacent to a major highway and it's no wonder a new home for the Delta Community Animal Shelter became a priority for municipal hall.
There have been rumblings in the community over the scope of the project, concerns that Delta is building a Rolls Royce shelter when a more practical Honda would suffice. There's no doubt the municipality could have taken a more frugal approach, but constructing the same shelter, just in a different location, would have solved one problem, but not the other.
The new shelter should serve the needs of the animal control folks for years to come, meaning the issue won't resurface on council's radar a decade from now due to overcrowding or some other malady.
What's more, we're building it with found money. OK, so it's cash from the Gateway Program as a result of the South Fraser Perimeter Road, but it's important to remember that Delta taxpayers aren't picking up the tab.
Yes, that SFPR compensation could have theoretically been diverted to lessen the blow of property taxes, but homeowners eventually get a rude awakening when one-time money is used to pay for ongoing expenses.
Delta has a history of using lump sums to finance capital projects, a policy that has resulted in the addition of many recent recreation and cultural amenities.
It's also allowed for the purchase of property to act as a catalyst for waterfront redevelopment in Ladner.
The best use of the money, or at least a big chunk of it, this time around was deemed to be a new home for Delta's otherwise homeless dogs, cats and various other animals. When you look at the existing shelter, it's not difficult to see why.
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