Animal shelter

Support pours in as Tofino-Ucluelet animal shelter faces water crisis – Tofino-Ucluelet Westerly News

The Coastal Animal Rescue and Education Network is howling the praises of the West Coast after scrambling to find a solution to an incoming water crisis at their animal sanctuary last week.

CARE co-founder James Rodgers told the Westerly News the network was told by the Alberni Clayoquot Regional District on Thursday, June 16 that the shelter’s water supply would be cut off indefinitely the next day.

“What was a frustrating and disappointing reality of the water being closed, with the exclamation mark of 24 hours (notice), turned into a pretty positive experience where we felt very supported and thrilled to be able moving forward with a nice cutting-edge plan where we can take the animal shelter to another level of self-sufficiency,” he said.

Rodgers said CARE was aware of ACRD’s ongoing water upgrades, but had always planned for its facility to be hooked up to the new system being put in place.

“It was really out of left field for us that we weren’t actually going to connect,” he said.

He suggested he and his team felt “shocked and in disbelief” by the water turn-off advisory, but quickly turned their attention to possible solutions and appealed to their communities for help.

“People came out of carpentry with pipes and pumps and expertise and labor with a plan to put a system in place that was robust enough so that we could have enough water storage and enough catchment area to survive without access to ACRD water,” he said.

“It was a matter of hours. Literally Thursday night we had 3000 liters stored thanks to the community so if the water had been turned off as we were told we would have been ok because the community stepped up… And we are able to move forward with a long-term, sustainable and self-sustaining solution through the community. If we can be as self-sufficient as possible and stay focused on what we’re here to do, which is to take care of the animals and their keepers, then that’s great, that’s a win.

The ACRD announced on Friday that the shelter‘s water supply would not be cut off and that solutions were being sought.

The shelter is located on ACRD land near the Long Beach airport and ACRD’s announcement explains that the water line that CARE accesses is being disabled as it is is an “old military water pipe” that “leaks and is unstable”.

He adds that the old water pipe that is disabled connects to an abandoned building near the animal shelter.

CARE had hoped to take over the lease on the abandoned building and had raised funds to replace the roof and revitalize it to expand its shelter space, but that plan was canceled by ACRD last fall.

“The connection of the care network to the abandoned building is not permitted and the cost of replacing the old military water line is approximately $20-30,000,” the ACRD announcement reads.

He adds that the cost of replacing the water main is outside the scope of CARE’s lease, although ACRD’s chief executive, Daniel Sailland, has suggested that alternative solutions are being worked out. . “Short-term solutions are available and have been discussed with the leaseholder,” Sailland said in the announcement. “We will not be shutting down its water today (June 17) and we will continue to try to work together to find a solution that will work.”

The announcement adds that CARE’s three-year lease is up for renewal on July 1 and that “the leaseholder has not renewed its lease with the Regional District.”

“We will continue to keep the lines of communication open with the lease holder and hope to find a temporary situation to resolve this issue,” he said.

Rodgers said while ACRD has agreed to keep the water running for the time being, CARE still plans to move forward with plans it put in place on Thursday to set up a catchment system. of rain in order to make the operation more autonomous.

“Anyway, you slice it, I think it’s just good insurance. Being more self-sufficient and green is a positive that can come out of this very frustrating and unexpected situation,” he said. “We can’t be in limbo for such an essential part of keeping animals alive and well cared for, so we just have to take this opportunity to become self-sufficient and that’s fine with us, we’re not crying about it, it’s just that 24 hours (notice) is a bit crazy.

He added that CARE was heartened to see the West Coast stepping in and turning “lemons into lemonade” as the water crisis unfolded.

“It was integral, I don’t even know a word big enough for it. We couldn’t do what we do without not just the support, but the fast support,” he said. “It was an incredible response to the call to action. It was just amazing how many people showed up… We can’t thank the community enough.

For more information about CARE and how to support the network’s efforts, visit

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Alberni-Clayoquot Regional DistrictAnimal SheltersTofino,ucluelet