ICAN shelter plan no hit with council

A move may be in the cards for the Invermere Companion Animal Network (ICAN).

Kittens bask in the sun at the ICAN shelter.

Kittens bask in the sun at the ICAN shelter.

A move may be in the cards for the Invermere Companion Animal Network (ICAN).

The local no-kill shelter is hoping to build a new adoption centre to house its cats, kittens, dogs and small animals, but members of the District of Invermere Council didn’t jump at an early proposal to build the new facility at the shelter’s current location.

ICAN president Lana Banham told district council the network has operated out of a residence at 455 Panorama Drive for almost five years, but the space no longer fits the group’s needs.

“The house is quite old, and it’s not set up properly to be an animal shelter,” she said.

Banham said ICAN would like to buy the Panorama Drive lot and build a new shelter facility, but would need to have the land rezoned for kennel use — an M1, or light industrial, designation. The site is currently zoned for single family residential use.

ICAN wasn’t making a formal application with the district for rezoning. Instead, Banham said the group was trying to see if council had any interest in supporting the move “before spending the public’s money on an application.”

But while all five council members offered support for a full-scale shelter, most also said the group would have better luck if it found a different spot to build it.

Councillor Al Miller said he wants to see the district put pressure on the provincial Ministry of Transportation to straighten out Panorama Drive — a move that could require purchasing some of the property on either side of the road.

“Changing this to an M1 zone and investing a bunch of dollars at the same time wouldn’t make sense to me personally,” he added. “I think there are better spots.”

In addition to the road issue, councillor Ray Brydon said he wasn’t sure residents living on either side of the shelter site would be in favour of the move.

“I understand the frustrations where ICAN wants to raise something and know they can have it 20, 30 years into the future,” added mayor Gerry Taft.

“But I have to agree with the rest of council that this location may not have that certainty in 20 or 30 years.”

ICAN may still get some help from council, however. Taft said the group may be able to lease land for the shelter from the district on a dollar-a-year basis, possibly within Invermere’s existing light industrial zone.