The RSPCA will continue to operate the Katoomba shelter but expects to cut back staff and opening hours.

Victory, for now: Tony Nikolich, Bob Kemnitz, Lorraine MacDonald and Bill Boldiston outside the Katoomba RSPCA shelter.

Victory, for now: Tony Nikolich, Bob Kemnitz, Lorraine MacDonald and Bill Boldiston outside the Katoomba RSPCA shelter.

Still wary: Silvia Ford, who led the resistance against the closure of the RSPCA shelter in Katoomba.

Still wary: Silvia Ford, who led the resistance against the closure of the RSPCA shelter in Katoomba.

It was a victory for the people. The passion of the Mountains community members who rallied and fought against the planned closure of the animal shelter at Katoomba has forced the RSPCA to change its mind - the centre will now stay open.

NSW RSPCA chief executive officer Steve Coleman conceded that the "wave of support" for the shelter had been "overwhelming".

"We listened to what the people of the Blue Mountains had to say," he said. "I am happy to say that we were able to find a way of keeping the shelter operational."

The RSPCA will continue to operate the shelter but expects to cut back staff and opening hours.

It will take in surrendered animals and injured strays and offer animals for adoptions but it will no longer operate as the council pound.

It will also rely on the many locals who offered to help during the anti-closure campaign.

"With committed community involvement, we believe we have found a way to maintain vital services without having to close our doors," Mr Coleman said.

In a statement, RSPCA NSW said: "To sustain the shelter long term, RSPCA NSW is asking the community to harness the passion they felt when the shelter was under threat of closure to help keep the shelter operational in the longer term".

Mr Coleman added: "RSPCA NSW is a support-driven organisation. Without our financial supporters and our tireless volunteers, we would not exist. We have listened to them in making the decision to keep the shelter operational and I hope that they will now back this venture by committing their donations and/or time to help us keep the doors open."

But he failed to outline exactly what assistance the RSPCA expects.

It was this uncertainly that left supporters of the shelter somewhat wary about the announcement.

Bob Kemnitz, a life member of the RSPCA who chaired the public meeting in July which attracted more than 200 concerned residents, said he was unsure what the RSPCA expected or was offering.

"Until it spells out what the commitment is they are expecting I can't make a sensible comment," he said.

Mr Kemnitz was also concerned that the loss of business from the pound would adversely affect the cash flow of the shelter.

Silvia Ford, a major figure in the early days of the Blue Mountains branch and who managed it for 22 years, said she was disappointed that the shelter had not been handed back to the local branch, which had built it.

Ms Ford was instrumental in setting up a Facebook page for those who supported keeping the shelter open but she said the credit should go to the community.

"It was the community that did this, not me, and I think they were wonderful. They really came together when they needed to."

But she was uncertain about the long-term prospects for the centre.

"What's to stop him closing it next year, or some time in the future," she asked.

The local branch president, Tony Aldridge, said a steering committee had met to consider sponsorship and other options.

"We have had several very optimistic meetings and we are very optimistic that things will work out well. Obviously the community needs to put its money where its mouth is - we need the community's support," he said.

The working party will continue to further develop and refine plans, and seek ideas, positive suggestions and offers of help. The contact details are 0409 802 627, bluemtsworkgrp@rspcansw.org.au, and PO Box 133 Wentworth Falls 2782.

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