SPCA plants trees at new shelter

Matt Gardner
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The new Prince Albert SPCA shelter just got a lot greener.

Over the weekend, trees donated by the local Canadian Tire found their way to the new SPCA facility north of the city, where staff members and volunteers could be seen on Saturday planting them around the building’s front area.

SPCA executive director Debbie Lehner noted that the retailer had donated “whatever was left in their Garden Centre, from the trees to the shrubs to the perennials.”

“I just can’t say enough about Canadian Tire and their support of the community,” said Lehner, who also expressed her appreciation for the volunteers who helped plant the trees.

“I mean, this is going to be beautiful out here,” she added. “This is going to finish off our building campaign.”

While the goal on Saturday was to finish off the area in front of the shelter, a large number of trees remained in a nearby compound, ready to be planted in the back of the building.

If the goal of the trees in front was to present an attractive façade to the building itself, those in back will also serve a more functional purpose.

“It’s twofold,” Lehner said. “It’s to have a beautiful look when you come in to drive into our facility, as well as (to) provide shade for the dogs in the outdoor pens at the back of the building.”

Among the volunteers on Saturday were Steve Roberts and his sons Sam and Jake -- family members of SPCA director of operations Leanne Roberts.

The plants in front, Steve noted, were largely globe blue spruce, which had the advantage of staying small and round so as not to obscure the front of the building from passing traffic.

By contrast, trees in the back area were generally larger in order to provide more shade for the animals as well as shelter from the wind.

“We went through all of the trees last night and looked at their height and how wide they’ll be and made some decisions on which ones are going to be moved to the back,” Roberts said.

It’s twofold. It’s to have a beautiful look when you come in to drive into our facility, as well as (to) provide shade for the dogs in the outdoor pens at the back of the building. Debbie Lehner

“Of course, there are lots of small flowering ones for up close to the building,” he added. “So they may still put some small ones in here, but then they’ll grass-seed the rest.”

Another volunteer that day was Gordon Topping, who -- along with his wife -- first became involved with the SPCA after their church had a garage sale and needed a place to take the items afterward.

“We took it all down to the SPCA garage sale and felt obligated that we should give them a hand with it,” Topping recalled. “We just found that they were just a great group of people to work with.”

Ever since, the couple have been dedicated volunteers at SPCA events, helping out at the organization’s annual garage sale and charity golf tournament.

Upon hearing that Canadian Tire owner Malcolm Jenkins had donated trees to the new SPCA facility, they once again volunteered their assistance.

“Many hands make light work,” Topping noted.

With the trees planted and grass ready to be seeded, only a few large tasks remain for the SPCA in finishing work on the new shelter.

Lehner cited modifications to the west end of the building as one of the biggest.

“In the original plans, we had the outdoor cat shelters, which are going to be on the west end of the building where all the cat rooms are,” she said.

“We have to put a roof to the fence that joins our property and section it off into each of the community centres and cat habitats -- and then doggy doors will be installed in each of those rooms so they can come in and out. So that’s a main thing that needs to get done.”

Other tasks include sodding animal pens, adding gravel to the front and back of the building and finalizing recognition boards for people and organizations who have donated to the new facility.

Organizations: Canadian Tire, Garden Centre

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