Council Invests in Innovative Approach to Animal Management

Published on 11 August 2016

Media Release

Baw Baw Shire Council has purchased Utopia Pet Lodge, a 2.023 hectare first class pet boarding facility located in Longwarry. The purchase price for the business, land and improvements totalled $1.2 million.

Council will own the business name and continue to operate the business as Utopia Pet Lodge. Initially Council will directly manage the facility and will continue to investigate the most appropriate management structure for the successful operation of the business. Income received from the business will provide a welcome additional revenue stream to Council.

Mayor of Baw Baw Shire Councillor Joe Gauci said this strategic investment provides Council with an innovative approach to co-locate a completely separate animal pound on the property. Council’s pound operation and the impounded animals in its care will be situated in separate locations on site to that of the pet accommodation facilities.

“Facilities already exist on site that can be upgraded and used for a Council Pound. The anticipated cost to upgrade these facilities is $150,000, with funds available within Council’s 2016/17 operating budget,” said the Mayor.

In January 2016, Council conducted a thorough community consultation campaign over a four week period to discuss potential options for the proposed new animal pound.

Council identified three potential sites that addressed the necessary compliance requirements and invited the community to provide alternative site suggestions.  During this process Council received valuable feedback, which helped inform Council’s decision making.

“Council would like to thank all members of the community that participated in the consultation process,” said the Mayor.

“It was very clear that the community were divided on the best site for our pound.  No one wanted it in their backyard, and Lardner Park was considered a good option but access may present future challenges.

“During the consultation process a really interesting alternative was raised, being a business that currently operates as an animal boarding kennel, having sufficient space for dogs, cats, horses and cows. 

“Council is excited by the commercial scope available through this purchase, allowing us to offer additional pet services and luxury accommodation, whilst also offsetting our costs. We have to look for every opportunity to reduce costs in this rate capped environment and this purchase will help us to not only house lost animals, but also provide us with an extra revenue stream.”

Settlement is set for 31 August 2016.