New shelter gets OK immediately

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Council, Hubbard end long eight year stalemate


Staff Reporter

EDGARD – After a bitter stalemate that stretched over eight years, the newly minted St. John Council on Monday unanimously approved the building of a new animal shelter for the parish, only hours after being sworn into office.

“This is truly a sign of progress, and I appreciate your support,” said Parish President Bill Hubbard to the council after the vote. “This shows the public we do have trust in each other to get things done.”

Hubbard said construction of a new animal shelter was an issue he wanted to tackle right from the get go, an issue that had remained in limbo on the council agenda for more than a year.

“Waiting would not have provided better care for our animals, and the current shelter is an embarrassment to the people of St. John,” said Hubbard. “I made the decision and approached each council person to ask for their support. I never doubted that each of the council people wanted to provide better care for our animals.”

The history of the new animal shelter extends all the way back to the beginning of the previous administration. Former Parish President Nickie Monica had set aside $200,000 for construction of the shelter, located on River Road, next to a sewerage treatment plant in LaPlace.

As time passed, the price of construction continued to rise, with Hurricane Katrina providing the final boost past $400,000.

Over the past two years, debate had raged over whether or not to move the shelter to a new location near St. John Airport in Reserve, or build it where it stands.

“Arguing over where to put it didn’t get it built,” said Hubbard. “It only delayed what everyone wanted.”

Getting a new shelter built was a pivotal point of Hubbard’s platform during his campaign for office, a

campaign that included political ads that quoted dogs and cats saying they would vote for Hubbard if they had the choice.

“After eight years, the people can finally believe us when we say we care for the animals of St. John,” said Hubbard.

Hubbard said building the shelter at the existing site was the only logical solution to the problem. He said the parish already owns the property, and it would be considerably cheaper to build at the current location. Hubbard said the construction costs would be close to $500,000.

Hubbard said engineers and architects would be present at the next animal control board meeting to address possible designs. Those designs would be submitted to the council for approval, as was requested by District 7 Councilwoman Cheryl Millet, then submitted for bids.

Hubbard said he hopes to have a bid awarded in the next 60 days so that construction can begin immediately.

“I want to see this project done before the end of the year,” said Hubbard. “All it takes is the attitude that you can get something done, and it usually happens.”