It's done! Paws and Claws site approved


Howard Salkow

Senior Journalist

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President of Paws and Claws and local Councillor Michael Kerr elated by the announcement. IMAGE: Howard Salkow, Newsport

In a ground-breaking day for Paws and Claws, the future of homeless animals in the Douglas Shire has been secured after approval was granted for an animal refuge centre to be constructed at 6-8 Teamsters Close, Craiglie, following a legal battle that was staged at the 11th hour.

And it’s a day Michael Kerr will long remember. The President of the Homeless Animal Society and the Douglas Animal Welfare Group, received the breakthrough last Friday following a successful outcome involving six Craiglie businessmen in a without prejudice meeting called to mediate the situation.

“Although I am disappointed in the way we had to get to this outcome, the committee and I are extremely excited that we are now back on track with the goal to build this well needed facility,” said a delighted Kerr

“For the first time in 11 years we will now have a place which will be ours for the foreseeable future. This is a significant breakthrough.

“It is a fantastic opportunity to build a state-of-the-art facility which will be an asset for the shire,” said Kerr.

In September last year, the new state-of-the-art Paws and Claws animal shelter was given the go-ahead after Douglas Shire Councillors agreed to issue a development permit for a new indoor facility in Craiglie.

There was a 3-1 vote in favour in Council with only Councillor Roy Zammataro voting against the proposed location. Zammataro has always said there should be an animal shelter but did not support the Craiglie location.

But at the 11th hour, five business entities lodged an appeal in the Planning and Environment Court Cairns to scupper Paws and Claws’ plans to convert the former printing company into an animal shelter in Teamsters Close.

"The mediation was a fantastic outcome for everyone involved and Council now looks forward to helping Paws & Claws with their fundraising efforts," said Douglas Shire Mayor Julia Leu.

She said we will also continue to work closely with the organisation to ensure neighbouring properties are not adversely impacted by the development.

"Douglas Shire Council has spear-headed advocacy to help find a suitable site for the animal refuge including several ministerial delegations, community rallies, fundraisers and staunch advocacy in the media."

Once completed, the facility will house 38 dogs in a fully enclosed and sound proof facility. It will offer boarding, have a specialised puppy section, cattery, grooming facility and offer retail items for prospective adoptees.

Kerr said he would like to see the shelter up and running within 18-24 months and says the association will be in a position to cover the cost which is expected to be around $350,000.

“The association will now continue its fund-raising attempts while moving forward with the various design items needed to get the approvals to commence building from council.

“It’s full steam ahead now, the only thing slowing us down is money, so we will be doing everything we can to get the needed funds as quickly as possible,” he said.

Kerr said events such as the Carnivale Gala Dinner will go a long way to assist in the fund-raising efforts.

“We would also like to call on all those who have said that they will contribute to our tax deductable organisation when we get to the point of building … it’s finally time.”

Kerr said the committee is extremely grateful to all who have continued to support us.

“Without this continued support, we would have been mentally as well as financially unable to have continued.

“With this last hurdle behind us we can only hope that it will be constant good news stories from here on.”



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