The new animal shelter in Chatham is now ‘well past’ the 50 per cent fundraising mark needed to make the facility a reality thanks to a $50,000 donation by the Howard J. Rees Foundation Wednesday.

The donation was made at Talbot Trail Place in Blenheim and was accepted by Art Stirling, co-chair of the Friends of the new Animal Shelter and project coordinator Lynn McGeachy.

“This donation demonstrates not only the deep community support for the new shelter but also the ongoing generosity of the late Dr. Rees through his foundation,” Stirling said in a press release. “We have more fundraising ahead of us and we continue to celebrate both large and small gifts. This is truly a community-wide project.”

The foundation, created in 1992, was established to support the arts, health and education. It has provided scholarships, supported medical needs and was a major factor in the expansion of the Gable Rees Rotary Pool.

McGeachy said construction of the shelter goes far beyond its primary purpose of providing a safe, humane building for animals in distress.

The building will have a community room which will play a role in teaching animals care and act as a community resource,” she said. “Animals play such an important role in people’s lives, as companions

Chatham-Kent Council has pledged a total of $500,000 over this year and next to help defray the cost which has been estimated at between $1.5 and $2 million.

Construction of the new shelter should begin next spring across from the current facility on Park Ave., a 40-year-old municipally owned structure which outlived its usefulness. When the new facility is completed, it will be turned over to the municipality.

– Submitted photo

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