Betty Irwin is the new manager of the Mae Bachur Animal Shelter in Whitehorse.
The long-time city councillor, speaking this morning on her third day of work at the shelter, said it’s been a steep learning curve stepping into the position but she’s excited about the new challenge.
Irwin said she’s deeply devoted to the shelter, and after volunteering for many years, she decided to take the plunge into a managerial position.
Irwin said the shelter is too small for Whitehorse, and as the animal population continues to grow, she’s hoping to expand the facility in the next five years.
“I see so many strays and situations of neglect and abuse and we all want to do something to alleviate those problems,” she said.
The biggest obstacle the shelter faces is the facility itself, she said.
“The building opened in 1998 and there were problems from the beginning.”
The foundation is not proper, drainage doesn’t flow well, and there are leaks and cracks all over, Irwin said.
“A shelter should be more open. Particularly for the staff that work here, it’s not terribly well designed.”
Irwin doesn’t see a conflict of interest between her position at the shelter and her seat on Whitehorse council.
“Many councillors have had to step back because of a conflict, but what we do is we declare we have a conflict in this respect and we step out and don’t take part in the discussion, the debate, or the vote.”
Irwin’s son, Hoby Irwin, has resigned from his position as president of the shelter to avoid a conflict of interest.