A $1 million bequest to the Tauranga SPCA by Tauranga woman Betty Napier more than seven years ago is finally being used with a major extension and revamp of its facilities well under way.
Operations manager Margaret Rawiri said the renovations included a major building extension which should be finished and ready for occupation by July 1. She said the long-awaited renovations and improvements to the shelter would result in the animals being housed in far bigger facilities, including a much more spacious cat adoption area, better quarantine and disease control, better reception and staff offices, and an education room.
Mrs Rawiri said: "It is so wonderful to see the project we have all been waiting a very long time to get off the ground, finally happening.
"It's very exciting and we know this would never have been possible without the very generous [gift] by Mrs Napier and we're all so grateful to her."
In the largest single donation to the Tauranga SPCA, Avenues woman Betty Napier, 88, who died on January 5, 2005, gave $1million to the animal welfare organisation.
Mrs Napier, who lived alone, had a strong love for animals and regularly donated to the SPCA, Red Cross and the Salvation Army.
The $1 million was set aside for the major upgrade to the Tauranga site in Alach St, Greerton and the renovations which would increase the size of facilities by up to 50 per cent are well under way.
The new cat adoption area would include better viewing facilities for visitors and also for the cats which would all get a window view of the outside. "It is less strange and less stressful if the cats can see outside.
"Once we move into the new extension, the existing building will be completely gutted and work will begin to re-do the quarantine area and build the new nursery holding pens for the animals," Mrs Rawiri said said.
The revamp would also include new park-like grounds for animals such as rabbits and guinea pigs, and a new education room for children so the SPCA can run holiday programmes.
Mrs Rawiri if the things went according to plan the renovations would be completed by November.
"When it is all finished it will increase the animal clearance and care facilities and be more than 100 times better for the animals which was always our main goal.
"The staff are also looking forward to better working conditions. Hopefully all the improvements will encourage more people to want come for a visit to adopt animals," she said.
Mrs Rawiri said these improvements go to the heart of the Tauranga SPCA's constant struggle with overcrowding.