As of last night's meeting of Weyburn City Council, the Weyburn Humane Society now officially has secured the land on which they can build a new animal shelter.

Weyburn Humane Society Board President Randy Bakaluk said talks with the City began about four months ago, and with the land secured, now it's time to confirm a building design.

"Now we will proceed to finalize the details of the design," he shared. "We're looking at a couple of options for the building, and we're hoping to have some concrete news by the summer, depending which plan we go with." 

Either way, Bakaluk said the new building will enable them to increase their capacity for animals. 

"We're always overloaded, especially in the spring and the fall when the cats have kittens, and even their dog count is up quite high. So we'll be increasing the number of spots by some degree, but we're not sure exactly how many right now."

City Council approved a two-year lease for 1810 East Avenue for $1/year. The two-year term would be similar to the terms that are used when land is sold by the City to ensure development is undertaken in a timely manner and property does not continue to sit vacant for an extended period.

The property is currently an empty lot, near the Southeast Cornerstone Public School Division offices. 

"We want to stay close to the old buildings so people wouldn't think we've moved a great distance away. It's far enough, we feel, from the residents that our animals won't bother them when they're outside, so it's the perfect location," Bakaluk explained. 

He said they are a little over a third of the way on their fundraising to build the new shelter.

"This has been ongoing for well over 10 years, so last night when we got the official word, it was just like we can see the light now, we can move ahead and get that building that we desperately need."

Fundraising has been ramped up in recent months, with several initiatives underway not only to maintain the animals currently living at the shelter but also specifically for the new building.

Bakaluk said, "Presently we have a proximately $450,000 raised."

He explained that, since a building design is not yet finalized, the exact cost of the project isn't yet known. 

"We're thinking it's probably going to be about one $1.3 million by the time we're done. When we got the land donated, that took a huge chunk out of the cost that we were going to have to raise."

In addition to other standard lease terms, the agreement details that the WHS has to pay utilities at the new building, including City water, City sewer, SaskPower, and SaskEnergy. This is something they haven't had to do at their current location, which shares a lot with the Weyburn Fire Hall.

The lease comes into effect on June 1st, 2023, and the WHS is expected to undertake the development of a new Animal Shelter Building within the 2-year lease term. The WHS board will be responsible for all costs associated with the installation of any required infrastructure, services and /or utilities to service the property and building. The WHS will not be charged property taxes throughout the duration of the agreement. Approval will be required for the buildings and structures on the property prior to the construction of said buildings or structures.

Another term of the agreement is that the WHS undertake Animal Control Services to the City of Weyburn, as they already do. However, if that service is discontinued at any point in time this agreement shall be subject to renegotiation or termination.

1810 East Ave is currently listed on the City’s Inventory of Land for sale at a price of Land Price $48,337.50 plus GST. The parcel is approx. 1.34 acres and is zoned Medium Industrial which allows for an Animal Shelter as a Discretionary Use which would require Council approval (and neighbourhood notices). 

If you'd like to help the WHS raise funds for their new shelter building, you can purchase a raffle ticket for some amazing prizes, as all of the proceeds for the 'Save a Dog, Drive a Bronco' raffle go directly to the new building fund. Find the details HERE

Bakaluk said you can donate directly on the WHS website, specifying that's what the donation is for, HERE.

Watch a video HERE.