The Advertiser, 29 June 2011
The Kurri animal shelter, or more commonly known as the pound, will cease to operate with council entering into an agreement with the RSPCA at Rutherford to take over the role on behalf of the council.
A report to the last council meeting advise that the General Manager has confirmed with the RSPCA council’s interest in entering into a formal agreement for a five year period with an option for a further five years.
Council will now enter into the proposed agreement with the RSPCA NSW without calling tenders as it considers a satisfactory result would not be achieved by inviting tenders because of extenuating circumstances and the unavailability of competitive or reliable tenders for the following reasons:
a. The RSPCA is the only organisation available within the area that has an industry best practice regional animal shelter capable of providing the professional animal care and management required of council under legislative requirements;
b. Part of the RSPCA’s core business is to set up and provide professional animal management services to Local Government;
c. Council has an immediate and critical need to address operational requirements and occupational health and safety concerns as addressed in the accompanying report; and
d. The entry into this contract provides a significant economic benefit to the Council over the term of the contract when compared to the cost of Council providing its own facility.
The lengthy document goes on to say:
Council currently operates its own animal shelter on Crown Land under the care, control and management of council. The site has been used as a public pound for about 50 years.
Reports to Council over the past 18 months and a briefing to council in February this year highlighted a number of issues with the existing animal shelter. Some of the more critical concerns are:
The Land and Property Management Authority have advised that they will not consent to any further improvements and/or works on the current site (including animal shelter facilities, kennel improvements, etc) until the following issues relating to contamination, approved use of reserve and aboriginal land claim are resolved:
The animal shelter is constructed on a disused sanitary depot site. The site has been used by council as a sanitary depot for about 100 years and ceased operation in 2002. The site has identified contamination issues related to this former use. An environmental audit was commissioned through Coffey Environments and a draft Preliminary Contamination Assessment has identified that the site is not suitable for commercial/industrial use due to past use of the site as a sanitary depot, burial of nightsoil, use of coal tar in sanitary pans, and storage of fuels and oils.
Coffey Environments have also identified options for closing the site, placing it under administrative control and ongoing monitoring, or full remediation of the site for commercial/industrial use.
Further investigation is required to identify health concerns for workers on the site. The environmental audit is being managed by the Environmental and Waste Services Manager as the asset owner for the previous sanitary depot.
The timeframe to process the aboriginal land claim could be up to 2 years, possibly longer and the cost estimates identified in the Coffey Environments preliminary contamination assessment for rehabilitation of the site range from $155,000 to $250,000.
The capital cost to council to provide its own new best practice Animal Shelter would be at least three times greater than a one off Facility Access Fee (capital cost) to enter into the Deed of Agreement with the RSPCA. This does not include the cost of land or any loan repayments if loan funding was used for council’s new best practice Animal Shelter. Council should also be aware that at this time suitable land has not been identified or found for a new Council managed Animal Shelter.
The cost to Council for the yearly fixed management is significantly less than the cost for council to manage its own best practices animal shelter.
The cost of council setting up its own animal shelter was provided to councillors in a confidential report that focused on a detailed business case.
The Advertiser, 29 June 2011