SPCA wants to sell former home

Looking for pet-friendly premises? The Red Deer and District SPCA has a deal for you.

Looking for pet-friendly premises?

The Red Deer and District SPCA has a deal for you. The non-profit organization is seeking to sell its former facilities at 4505 77th St. — property that’s been vacant since the SPCA moved into a new building on the same lot last March. On Wednesday, the city’s municipal planning commission authorized the subdivision of the land, opening the door for the old building and land to be marketed.

“We decided it was just a really good opportunity for us,” said Julie McInnis, executive director of the Red Deer and District SPCA. “It’s an asset that we’re really not using right now.”

The SPCA’s old building measures about 2,800 square feet and the land it sits on covers nearly an acre. McInnis said it’s likely a buyer would demolish the building, although it could also be renovated.

She added that some interest in the property has already been shown, and is hopeful that the subdivision process can be completed by the end of June.

The land is zoned industrial — business service. McInnis acknowledged that financial necessity is one motivation for the sale.

“It’s a financially challenging time in our community for charities,” she said, adding that moving into a bigger building resulted in a higher operating budget for her organization.

In March, Red Deer city council voted to extend the time for the SPCA to repay a $1 million municipal loan that was used to help fund the new building.

It was disclosed that more than $800,000 in donations pledged to the SPCA for the $4.2-million project were never paid.

McInnis said the SPCA is working hard to generate revenue. She listed as examples its small retail store, summer day camps, birthday parties and pet cremation services. This weekend, the SPCA’s annual Garage Sale will take place north of Real Canadian Superstore at 5239 53th Ave.

Selling a portion of its land is just another way to generate cash, she said.