The Invermere Animal Companion Network (ICAN) volunteer group has assisted over 600 companion animals at their facility at 455 Panorama Drive in Invermere since 2007. However, the number of animals who need help far outstrips the room ICAN currently has, which is why the group is on the lookout for a new patch of land for a new facility.
With the current facility located on roughly a quarter of an acre, president and co-founder Lana Banham says they would like to build a new facility on a land parcel at least three quarters of an acre large. At the moment, ICAN can house around 20 cats at their current facility, a 60-year-old house, and another 14 cats in foster homes. Banham says there is always a waiting list for animals looking to enter the shelter and that once the group manages to find land, they can start fundraising in earnest for the construction of the new facility.
“We don’t need a full acre, but we’d like some room to grow and expand,” Banham said. “We really want to build a facility that’s going to allow us to care for more pets.”
Banham says that while the need for a new patch of land is not necessarily extremely urgent, she would love to be able to start fundraising for a new facility within the next couple years. ICAN is currently talking to the district about any potential areas that would be available, but isn’t completely sure that they will be able to find anything. Banham says the group has raised about $30,000 of an estimated $400,000 price tag thus far, but without the assurance of new land, things can’t really move forward.
“We can’t really start fundraising for a capital project, and then not have it go ahead,” Banham said. “We’ve pretty much outgrown [our current facility.]”
Banham says ICAN has begun planning the new facility, which would be a one-story building measuring roughly 2,300 square feet. The new facility would also contain outdoor enclosures and several dog runs, and would allow the group to house dogs at the facility as opposed to solely in foster care, as is the case now. The new building would also allow ICAN to have more space for small animals such as birds and rabbits, and Banham estimates they would be able to care for about twice as many cats.
Anyone interested in helping, either by donating land or by simply volunteering at the shelter, is encouraged to call (250) 341-7888 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Volunteers are always needed. For a complete list of ways to help, visit the ICAN website at www.icanhelpapet.com.