By Trevor Busch
The Town of Taber has selected a new site for an animal control facility in the community’s northeast industrial area.
Following closed session discussion at their March 25 meeting, council passed a motion to select Lot 42, Block 8, Plan 0714240 as the location for the new animal control facility, and directed administration to take the steps necessary to secure the location for the development. According to the minutes, council’s vote was not unanimous.
“It’s east of the crematorium,” confirmed CAO Cory Armfelt following a media inquiry at council’s April 8 meeting. “There’s a lot — it’s actually a fairly large industrial lot there — that’s in-between the crematorium and the storm treatment pond, so we’ll subdivide a portion of that lot off for the animal treatment facility on that parcel, and then still have some left over for industrial use.”
Armfelt also clarified the lot is currently town property.
“The municipality owns it, but the lot configuration is not to how we want it. So we’ll be coming through with a subdivision amendment.”
Construction of a new animal control facility for the community has been a key goal for an organization of volunteers that have formed a non-profit society to manage the town’s needs, Taber Lost Paws.
The creation of the Taber Police Service’s Community Standards Unit in 2016 included the responsibility to manage the animal control facility, which is currently situated south and east of the Town of Taber Fire Station. The town’s approved 2019 capital budget includes a figure of $100,000 to replace the facility, which is considered to be unsuited for its function.
Control of the existing facility, including daily maintenance, cleaning and sheltering of animals, is currently contracted. In late 2016, the TPS reached out to the community to inquire if there was interest in strengthening animal wellness issues.
On Jan. 16, a delegation from Taber Lost Paws made a presentation of their goals to the Taber Municipal Police Commission. The society has committed to maintaining an animal control facility and intends to work closely in partnership with the Town of Taber and TPS in operating the facility.
After the Jan. 16 presentation and following further closed session deliberation, the commission passed a resolution requesting TPS chief Graham Abela meet with CAO Armfelt to discuss the Town of Taber’s new animal control facility build locations and future operations.
As locations for the new facility have been discussed entirely in camera, local citizens have been left mostly in the dark as to what might have factored into town council’s recent decision. However, one resolution passed earlier in 2019 provides a degree of illumination, suggesting the town may also have been targeting a location near the Taber Agri-Plex.
Following closed session discussion on Feb. 11, council passed a resolution requesting “representatives of the Taber Exhibition Association (TEA) attend in camera on March 11 to provide reasons why an animal control facility is not permitted on the TEA parcel.”
Council’s subsequent resolution on March 11 following the in camera attendance of a TEA delegation provided no further details, with council simply “accepting as information a presentation from the Taber Exhibition Association.”
The March 25 site decision did not include any details on a timeline for construction of the new facility now that a location has been selected.