NORTH BAY -- It's just a matter of time before North Bay has a new animal adoption centre in the city.

Liam Cullin, executive director of the North Bay and District Humane Society, said it has been in the planning stages since 2018, but following this week's council meeting, it's one step closer to reality.

"The City of North Bay approved the acquisition of just a closed off property here on the west side of the facility," said Cullin. "So we're going to be moving the parking lot from the east side to the west side."

The current parking lot will then be transformed into a stand-alone adoption centre.

"It's just a matter of making sure that we're doing what's best for the animals in our community," he said. "It is tight quarters in the humane society. We do take in strays from not only North Bay, but also West Nipissing, Corbeil, Asterville, Bonfield, Nipissing First Nation. We have about 1,600 animals come through the facility each year, so it's just about making space."

Received donation

The planned expansion has a price tag between $1 million and $1.5 million. The humane society received a donation from a man's estate that helped bring the idea to life.

"We're using the donation, as well as a campaign that we're working on right now, just to expand our operations to have an adoption center in addition to the services we already provide," Cullin said.

To date about $750,000 has been raised.

The new centre is expected to provide some much-needed space for the society to house animals in need.

"I can say from personal experience, we've got actual offices that we should have people in that we've got cats in," said shelter manager Janet Bredin. "So it's really important for us to branch out and really build on what the community wants and needs."

"With the Pet Valu animal rescue express, travelling and the number of animals we're taking in, we just don't have the facility to care for everybody," Bredin added. "But we do have the population to potentially get them home, so we've got to meet in the middle."

The new adoption centre is expected to have 12 dog runs, six additional cat rooms, meeting space and a designated meet-and-greet area for potential owners. In total, it should be about 3,200 square feet.

Need more space

"We've tried to take any useable space and put animals in to space them out, give them their own sort of security, independence and really try to get to know the animal before we try to place it in the perfect home so that it's not being bounced back and force," said Bredin.

She said the new centre will give them the ability to take in more animals, but the shelter does have backup.

"We also do have our partner facilities, so a lot of facilities throughout all of Ontario and Western Quebec that we send animals to if we find the influx has gotten too much for us to handle," Bredin said.

The centre is also expected to create new jobs in the city, with more staff needed to take care of the animals and to clean the facility.

The hope is to have shovels in the ground by next fall or the spring of 2022.