After putting out a press release asking for the donation of trees to the city to provide shade for pets housed at the Ely Animal Shelter, a pair of council members have put a stop to the planting of any trees for two weeks, until it can be voted on by the entire council.
According to Mayor Melody Van Camp, who had been spearheading the project, 17 trees were donated, numerous bags of soil, mesh to put on the roofs and back of the kennels, and monetary donations were provided, which meant the cost of the improvements would be zero to the city’s budget.
Van Camp said that Mike Craycraft, head of the city’s parks, had enough spare parts for a drip line, and local contractor Paul Holdaway was going to donate his time and equipment to dig the holes. Also, local Boy Scout troops were going to earn badges helping to plant the trees and White Pine Girl Scouts were part of the project as well.
“We had numerous other people who wanted to remain anonymous, that said they would donate anything I needed,” Van Camp said. “In the end it would have been of little or no cost to the city.”
Councilmember Pat Robison, who donated a tree along with her daughter and a close friend, said Nevada state law requires outside kennels to have a cover on them, a law the city isn’t complying with.
“People drive by and feel sorry for the dogs,” she said. “This was going to be done at no cost to the city.”
Councilman Bruce Setterstrom, who along with Councilmember Jolene Gardner, fought to have the project put on hold, said that he wasn’t against the trees but that if they were planted on the side of the animal shelter, when they get big, their leaves would shed and fall into the cardboard recycling plant.
“When you compress that cardboard, they’ll reject the whole load,” Setterstrom said. “I don’t think anyone’s thought about that.”
Setterstrom said that it will be a real pain to separate the leaves from the cardboard and cans, which will be collected in open chutes.
Van Camp said that she had talked to recycling officials in the area and was reassured that leaves blowing into the recycling area would not contaminate or interfere with the cardboard or cans.
Another council member complained to Van Camp that there shouldn’t be any comforts provided to dogs when they’re in jail, but Van Camp wouldn’t identify the council member.
Councilmember Kurt Carson said that he wasn’t even aware there was an issue with the tree planting and Councilmember Jolene Gardner did not return a call made to her Monday.
“All of a sudden, something so simple has turned into a fiasco,” Van Camp said. “I felt like this was a nice thing to do at no cost to the citizens. I’m disappointed we had to do it this way. We have to wait now for two weeks while the weather is going to be in the 90s.”
Van Camp said that with this being such a small, unpopulated area, it was difficult to adopt pets out as quickly as in a larger city, and that she worried about the dogs that have to remain in the shelter for more extended periods.
“It’s not their fault,” she said.
She said that the donated trees are still in their pots and that animal control is watering them daily to keep them alive in hopes they can be approved to be planted after the next city council meeting.