SPCA backers pressure council
About 200 people gathered in Civic Square last week to support the Wellington Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.
The society wants Wellington City Council to commit to helping it move into the disused Fever Hospital building.
On May 15, demonstrators carried banners depicting animals rescued for re- homing by the organisation.
The council was in the process of finalising its annual plan and whether to fund more work on the hospital was up for debate.
Society chief executive Iain Torrance said he was delighted with the turnout at such short notice. He said the society wants the council to understand the community’s passion for the project.
Dialogue with the mayor and councillors was positive, he said.
‘‘We will be putting through a commercial proposition this week looking at allowing us to help the council to fund the ongoing refurbishment work.
The upgrade and maintenance work was the council’s responsibility as building owner, he said.
Most of the required earthquake strengthening had been done, and minor work including fixing some roof leaks was needed to allow the society to move in.
Michelle Brett is a volunteer in Newtown.
The society’s Newtown premises were too small and the location was not ideal. The Fever Hospital building had more space, better access for the public and easier access to recreation areas for animals, she said.
Lambton ward councillor Iona Pannett said she was a serious supporter.
Ms Pannett was very concerned about the deterioration of the heritage building and wanted the society to occupy it as soon as possible.
‘‘ This is a non- government organisation doing good work. I have no problem with them being on the Town Belt.’’
The hospital needed to move up the council’s priorities or the society’s resource consent for the building would lapse, she said.
Wellington mayor Celia WadeBrown said the fever hospital was a great spot for the society.
‘‘ We just need to come up with a reasonable financial agreement.’’
Support crew: SPCA volunteer Michelle Woodward, centre, with friends Nell Woodward, left, and Anna van der Velden. In the background is SPCA chairwoman Teresa Gattung.
Ratepayers’ representative: Wellington mayor Celia WadeBrown.
Boss: SPCA chairwoman Teresa Gattung.