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Kitchener Stray Cat Rescue being displaced by high-rise development

The Kitchener Stray Cat Rescue is searching for a new home after finding out the building they are currently in is being turned into a high-rise apartment.

The property at 332 Charles St. E., is set to be turned into a 27-floor high rise apartment with 32 affordable housing units. It still needs approval from the Region of Waterloo, but City of Kitchener Council approved the development at a meeting on Monday.

Outside of the Kitchener Stray Cat Rescue. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

The developer, Vive Developments, said they want to have the project shovel ready by next year.

“We’ve already retained our design team, subject to today’s meeting, we’ll go full tilt. So this time next year we’ll be in the ground,” Stephen Litt with Vive Developments said at the meeting on Monday.

Currently, there are 53 cats in the care of the rescue. According to the rescue, they can no longer take in any more strays until they have a new home.

“We really don’t know what’s going on, other than I think we need to find a place now,” Tammy Tanner, founder of the Kitchener Stray Cat Rescue said. “Right now we can not take any more until we figure out what we’re going to do, where we’re going to move to, and come up with a plan quick.”

Currently, there are 53 cats in the rescue's care. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

The rescue is run completely by volunteers and relies on donations from the public. It has been a safe haven for strays since it opened over three years ago. Tanner said she knew there was a plan to develop the building but has been blindsided by how quickly it’s happening.

“I knew at some point there was going to be a development here, as per our contract, but finding out like this, through social media, was a kick in the ass,” Tanner said.

The rescue said it took them a while to be approved for proper zoning, and doing it again will be a challenge.

“If I knew that they were building a high-rise here now, I would have never payed the city to get the variance,” Tanner said.

A development sign on the outside of the Kitchener Stray Cat Rescue. A 27-floor high rise apartment is being proposed at the property. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

The rescue said they need multiple rooms to keep the cats healthy and to properly socialize them before giving them up for adoption.

“So not having a building for the public to come meet these types of cats is going to be extremely difficult to keep rescuing them,” adoptions coordinator Kathryn Quirk said.

The rescue says it needs a building with multiple rooms to keep the cats healthy and properly socialize them before giving them up for adoption. (Colton Wiens/CTV Kitchener)

The city held a public meeting last week, in addition to the council meeting on Monday.

“It's the city’s understanding that the landlord has been conversing with the tenant at the property. As part of the city’s notification process, a sign has been attached to the building with the proposed development, a staff contact, and details on upcoming public meetings,” the City of Kitchener said in an email.

Tanner said in the meantime, the rescue plans to push for more adoptions and try and find additional foster homes. Top Stories

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