Reptilia applies for accreditation for London facility
The debate on whether to offer an exemption to a city by-law in order to accommodate a 30,000 sq. ft. zoo to open in Westmount Mall continues at city hall. However, City of London City councillors have questions about the company and its loss of accreditation at two other facilities.
“If Reptilia cannot even keep its CAZA accreditation, I don't know why we think they are so valuable to have come to London,” asked Ward 6 Coun. Sam Trosow.
CAZA stands for Canada’s Accredited Zoos and Aquariums, and it is one of three organizations that have been listed for zoo’s to attain accreditation to operate in the city, if the changes are approved by council.
“You know, Reptilia did lose its designation recently. I've been having a little bit of trouble finding background information on why exactly that was. I did find some information, but for me, I would like to see more detail on it,” Ward 13 Coun. David Ferreira said during the committee meeting.
This comes as Reptillia has requested an exemption to the city by-law that bans the display of exotic animals.
“We have 25 members across Canada of varying sizes and degrees, and we uphold each other to those set of standards through our accreditation process,” said CAZA CEO and Executive Director, Jim Facette.
According to CAZA, Reptillia had accreditation for two facilities in Vaughn and Whitby, but that designation was lost.
“Reptilia was an accredited member of CAZA, yes. But, it's important to note for you and for your viewers to know that being accredited, we accredit the facility. We do not accredit the company,” Facette said.
As of Thursday, Reptilia London has indicated to CAZA they will begin the lengthy process to seek accreditation.
“There's normally a myriad of documents that you must submit, including photographs, documentation of processes, minutes of committee meetings, and the whole nine yards. This is something that is not taken lightly and normally takes a facility anywhere from two to four, maybe even five months to prepare of that level of documentation,” said Facette.
If granted, accreditation is for a five-year period, with yearly updates, and subject to inspections by a team of experts if complaints arise.
Council will debate the issue in the coming weeks, with the promise of a public participation meeting prior to giving final approval for the exception to the by-law.
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