It seems the controversy over the RSPCA shelter in the midst of a residential area at Happy Valley is finally coming to an end.
A new home has at long last been locked in for the Port Lincoln RSPCA.
Neighbouring residents around the Happy Valley Shelter have been making noise complaints on and off for many, many years and testing by the Environmental Protection Authority in 2014 found the noise from barking dogs at the shelter was above the allowable level – not to mention potential development breaches identified by the Port Lincoln City Council.
However the council and the EPA held off on enforcement in an effort to ensure the RSPCA could maintain a service in Port Lincoln and after lengthy negotiations it seems this has paid off.
It may just be an outsider’s perception but there seems to have been more action from the RSPCA in the past six months than in the past six years.
The organisation now seems to be taking a more proactive approach and is keen to increase its profile in the local community.
Despite its plan to downsize - with fewer spaces to keep animals in Port Lincoln and a focus on moving them through to Adelaide more quickly – RSPCA South Australia chief executive officer Paul Stevenson (pictured at the Happy Valley Shelter) seems keen to upsize the organisation’s community engagement with a focus on animal welfare education and getting more people involved as volunteers.
During the height of the dispute between the RSPCA and nearby residents, concerns were raised by a number of people that the RSPCA was getting painted as the ‘bad guy’ when it actually played an important role in the community.
Unfortunately, despite the good work of the organisation, the reality seemed to be that the noise from the shelter – so generously donated by Margaret Broad – was causing significant distress to a number of people in the area and moving to a non-residential area was always to be the most appropriate solution.
A number of different options for relocation have been explored over the years but nothing so far had come to fruition.
Now that a new location has finally been identified in a non-residential area, the RSPCA will be free to continue its good work and build on it in the future for the benefit of local animals.