Victoria SPCA gifted $2 million

Legacy gift earmarked for capital projects

Abandoned, lost and suffering animals in Greater Victoria are the beneficiaries of $2.5 million, thanks to an anonymous gift.

John Hoole, senior manager of B.C. SPCA’s planned giving department, said the unexpected gift is the largest legacy donation he’s ever seen. Most legacy gifts fall in the range of $10,000 to $20,000.

The Victoria branch of the SPCA will receive $2 million of the donation.

“It’s great,” said manager Penny Stone, who first learned of the money by a call from the News.

The money is earmarked only for capital projects.

At this stage, Stone said she doesn’t yet know how it will be used.

“I’ve talked to head office and we’re definitely looking at different options as to how to best use this money,” she said. “It will probably be a month before we decide. … Unfortunately it’s not going to help us with our day-to-day operations, which is really sad. I’m thankful and it’s fabulous that somebody gave the money to us (but) it would be nice if we could use it for medical.”

Medical expenses make up one-third of the society’s budget, said Stone, adding she still needs donations to cover these expenses.

The remaining $500,000 of the donation will be allocated to the Wild Animal Rehabilitation Centre in Metchosin. The centre, based on Malloch Road near Pedder Bay, currently trucks in its water and the money will allow it to build a water line to the property.

“This money will help Wild ARC with the safety and survival of wild animals and in the long run it will pay for itself,” said Hoole.

“We need the waterline, that’s always been our No. 1 priority,” said Sara Dubois, B.C. SPCA manager of wildlife services, who managed Wild ARC from 2004 to 2008. “We ran out of water twice this summer.”

Wild ARC has about 3,000 gallons of water delivered every two days, adding up to about $25,000 per year, to help clean and care for the 2,000 animals that pass though the facility annually.

“Not having water on the property, no pun intended, has been a real drain on resources,” Dubois quipped.

The water line will be built by the Capital Regional District starting in January or February. Wild ARC uses water in pools for aquatic animals, to clean the facility and for drinking water. The timing of the legacy fund couldn’t be better – the centre is currently building a $100,000, 1,500-square-foot aquatics facility featuring five rehabilitation pools.

Wild ARC has been working towards getting piped water since 2006.

“This is only happening because someone supported us,” Dubois said. “This is something that has been in the works for years. The reality is we could not have done this alone.”

rholmen@vicnews.com