$1.9M budget blow out to upgrade ‘overcrowded’ pet centre
THE Mackay Animal Management Centre upgrade will go ahead despite an almost $2 million cost blowout for its construction.
Mackay Regional Council on Wednesday voted to give the $3,398,176 centre upgrade contract to the Paget-based company WHF Group.
Mayor Greg Williamson said the approved final contract was $1.9 million over the initial budget forecast.
"(But) it will allow us to build the best possible management facility for animals we could possibly have," Cr Williamson.
He said the cost blowout could be absorbed by the capital works budget, even as the council faced a $5 million deficit.
Cr Williamson said the upgrade would involve the demolition of the existing centre and the construction of three interconnected buildings, a car park and the installation of new infrastructure services.
He said the expanded centre would triple the council's ability to care for the region's abandoned animals.
The new facilities would increase the number of dog enclosures from 18 to 42, and the number of cat condos from 9 to 22.
"Right now it's overcrowded," Cr Williamson said.
"Prior to COVID-19 restrictions, the Animal Management Centre would reach capacity two to
three times per month.
"We can't house enough cats that are brought into the pound, we can't house the dogs.
"We have to rely very heavily on moving them out through the RSPCA or other animal welfare groups."
He said the old animal centre, which was built in the early 90s, was in such a poor state that council workers could not stay there permanently, volunteers had been turned away and opening hours had been reduced.
Cr Williamson said the new centre would provide a more comfortable home for its furry tenants, with larger cages for cats and background music for the animals.
Cr Williamson said the new centre would not only improve the lives of the animals, but also for council employees and customers.
"The new dog enclosures have been designed with improved health and safety features, allowing staff to clean one side of the enclosure at a time so they don't have to be in the enclosure with a dog," he said.
"The customer experience will also be improved by providing more space for residents to interact with pets before deciding to adopt them."
Work on the centre was expected to start by mid-November and would take about 10 months to complete.
But abandoned animals would not be left without a roof over their heads, as the current facility would continue to operate while construction started on the two new buildings.
After those wings were complete the existing centre would be demolished and replaced.