August 29, 2018 10:30 am

Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre begins barn rebuild

A fire destroyed a large barn at Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre in January. Now the animal recovery centre is rebuilding with added benefits.

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Sandy Pines Wildlife Centre has spent years saving and rehabilitating injured wildlife brought to it from across eastern Ontario.

The Napanee-based organization is now rebuilding after a devastating fire earlier this year.

The barn, which housed food and served as a home for many of the injured animals Sandy Pines takes care of, was a complete loss.

Undaunted, the charity started fundraising to rebuild, but unexpected issues have led to the centre needing to raise as much as $50,000 beyond the original $200,000 budget.

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Some of that comes down to unforeseeable problems like disappearing groundwater leading to the need for another well.

“That well alone is going to be $15,000, so we’ve got to get it all hooked up and all the plumbing done,” Sandy Pines director Sue Meech said.

Meech estimates more than 5,000 injured animals will come through Sandy Pines’ doors this year. That’s double the total from 2014.

Many animals need to be housed in the clinic while construction continues.

Volunteer Susan Irving remembers when the clinic was built four years ago.

“We thought it was huge, we wondered if we would ever fill it and it is packed to capacity and overflowing capacity. So every inch of space is used.”

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The east end of the new structure should be completed in September and will primarily be broken down into stalls.

“These stalls are going to be insulated and wood on the inside so that they can be used for wildlife or farm animals,” Meech said.

At the west end of the building, there will be a new aquatic centre. It’s expected the aquatic centre won’t be complete until sometime next spring.

Meech says more waterfowl are being brought to them increasing the demand for a variety of habitats.

She attributes it to climate change, warming lakes and rivers.

“We’ve had about 60 to 80 cormorants brought in this summer already. There’s a virus disease going on out there and it happens when there’s global warming.”

Sandy Pines is the only wildlife centre in the region and receives animals from as far as the borders of Toronto in the west and as far east as Montreal and Ottawa.

© 2018 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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