The term “much-needed” was used early and often during speeches at a groundbreaking ceremony on Tuesday for the new Guelph Humane Society facility.
The organization welcomed donors, dignitaries, politicians and volunteers to a piece of land that is soon to be their future home in the Hanlon Creek Business Park off Laird Road.
“We’ve talked about it for so long, we’ve been looking at the plans on paper but today digging the dirt, putting shovels in the ground means it’s really happening,” said executive director Adrienne McBride.
The new 18,000-square-foot space will replace the one they have outgrown after half a century on Wellington Street near the city’s wastewater treatment plant.
Construction is expected to begin within a few weeks and it should be up and running by fall 2020.
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McBride said they have so much to look forward to with the new space that will be used in the best interest of animals.
“It’s the littlest things like a dishwasher to the biggest things like dogs having proper, adequate space where they can voluntarily go inside and outside,” she said.
The project received a massive boost earlier this month with a $5-million donation from local residents, Kim and Stu Lang, through their Angel Gabriel Foundation.
They were unable to attend Tuesday’s ceremony but the chair of the Board of Directors, Shane Bateman, said the gift is life-changing.
“It’s an incredible sum,” he said “What I hear when I hear that money is that all of a sudden the vision, the dreams that we had are now suddenly a reality. It’s indescribable to imagine that someone could be that generous.”
“That gift probably accelerated the entire project by years.”
Other major donors acknowledged during the ceremony were Kathy White, the Truscott Family, Glenn Goddard and Maureen McCafferty, Larry and Katie Smith, Annie and Muffie Guthrie, Jody McCurdy, Royal Canine and Ren’s Pets.
The campaign also received estate gifts from the late Hugh and Lorna Guthrie, and the late Mary Anne Thompson Summerville.
The Guelph Humane Society is still hoping to raise another $3.5 million to reach their $10 million goal.
More information can be found on their website.