Swan Animal Haven fights to stay

Swan Animal Haven vice-president Sylvia Taunt with Duncan and Milo. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au   d454971
Swan Animal Haven vice-president Sylvia Taunt with Duncan and Milo. Picture: David Baylis www.communitypix.com.au d454971

SWAN Animal Haven will not look for new premises until the end of its lease, according to president Claudine Charters.

The refuge, which has been in South Guildford since 1988, will be forced to move at the beginning of 2019 to make way for an extension to a nearby cemetery.

Ms Charters said the refuge did not want to move and would not move before the end of its lease unless the State Government could supply a suitable site in the metropolitan area.

She said she did not believe the shelter needed to move as there was more than enough land available for the extension.

“We certainly want to stay here,” she said.

“There is plenty of land available at the back for the cemetery and there are acres of available land surrounding us.”

She said the shelter would not survive if it was forced to move out of the metropolitan area.

“We rely on the help of volunteers and if we move out of the metropolitan area, then we will lose some of our volunteers,” she said.

The 2ha refuge site, which is on land owned by the Metropolitan Cemetery Board near the airport, houses about 50 dogs.

Midland MLA Michelle Roberts said the current site was perfect for the refuge.

“The problem is that Swan Animal Haven has no security of tenure,” she said.

“This problem needs to be resolved once and for all.

“It needs to be in the metropolitan area so volunteers can easily get to the shelter and people from all areas can easily visit the shelter to adopt a dog.”

She said there was enough land to extend the cemetery and to keep the shelter at the site.

“I’m hoping for common sense to see it stay at the current site or an appropriately located site for it to be found,” she said.

“This is going to be a very costly exercise if it is forced to move on its own, one which a not-for-profit cannot afford.”

Local Government Minister Tony Simpson said due to projected population growth in the eastern metropolitan corridor, more land was needed for an extension.

Mr Simpson said the land had been earmarked as a cemetery site since 1989.

“The association has known since 2000 that the land would be required for cemetery purposes and the most recent lease was drawn up in 2013, with the full understanding that it could not be renewed or extended,” he said.

“I have strongly encouraged the association to use the remaining time on its lease to find an alternative site and have offered to assist in driving this process and facilitating discussions with relevant stakeholders.”