Regina Humane Society begins new build, launches fundraiser for $4M needed to finish project

·2 min read
Regina Humane Society representatives, alongside the city’s mayor, broke ground on the construction of the RHS’s new animal community centre in the Harbour Landing neighbourhood Thursday.  (Stefan Nenson/CBC - image credit)
Regina Humane Society representatives, alongside the city’s mayor, broke ground on the construction of the RHS’s new animal community centre in the Harbour Landing neighbourhood Thursday. (Stefan Nenson/CBC - image credit)

For more than three decades, Lisa Koch has watched as the Regina Humane Society grew more entwined into the city's fabric. The only drawback: an aging facility that had outgrown the community it serves.

"It's quite frankly just falling apart around us," the Humane Society's executive director said, noting its veterinarians have to work out of mobile clinics and the shelter animals are crowded.

"We spend money just trying to keep the lights on and the doors open, with the current conditions that we have."

In the last 11 years, Koch said she's worked with her team and the organization's community partners on a plan to change that, saving up monetary donations and creating a conceptual design for a new building.

On Thursday, that vision began to take shape, when Humane Society representatives, alongside the city's mayor, broke ground for the organization's new animal community centre in the Harbour Landing neighbourhood.

"This is really going to be a game-changer in terms of the health and welfare for animals," Koch said.

"There are actually spaces [at the new facility] where people will be able to come and spend time with the animals."

On top of offering a safe refuge and an adoption gallery for homeless pets, the updated building is set to feature training and education centres with public-use multi-purpose classrooms.

It will also have a veterinary clinic, a dog-washing station and a gift shop, and will feature a dog park and green spaces.

"The new facility really provides the opportunity for so much more," Koch said.

With a bigger building, she added, the RHS will be able to hire more staff, expanding its 44-person team to accommodate its new outreach programs.

Almost $4M still needed to finish facility

The cost for the new animal community centre, located at 4900 Parliament Ave., is expected to be $28 million.

Regina Mayor Sandra Masters said the city plans to chip in 46 per cent of the construction cost.

"For a very long time, the facility has been somewhat inaccessible to the community, so that connection back into the community in a new facility — and the educational elements of it — are worth the investment," Masters said following the ground-breaking ceremony Thursday.

So far, the Humane Society has secured more than $24 million for the project, largely through community donations, leaving it to raise $3.99 million to complete the build.

To reach its financial target, the Humane Society — with the help of Regina residents, companies and organizations — launched its largest-ever volunteer-led fundraising campaign on Thursday, called Almost Home.

An FAQ on the Humane Society's website says it it hopes to have the new centre open by late summer of next year.

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