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CrocTalk negotiating with Kamloops

If all goes well CrocTalk could find a new home in Kamloops by the summer.

Doug Illman, director of operations of CrocTalk Conservation and Rescue, a facility which houses and educates the public on crocodilians, says he is in negotiation with the BC Wildlife Park and the City of Kamloops.

"We are in negotiations and have been for some time," says Illman when contacted by Castanet.

"It would be an opportunity for our facility and our educational program here to continue with a longer life span for us as well as having property along the highway."

CrocTalk has been around since 2002. Just two years ago it received a permit to operate as a zoo by the Province of BC.

Part of the reason for the possible move is what he calls the lack of support from the city.

Illman says the city planning department has been cooperative when it comes to the temporary use permit on his property in East Kelowna and City Council has been cooperative when the facility has had to make certain applications but not when it comes to financial support.

"My frustration is what city anywhere on the planet doesn't have a zoo that isn't associated, maintained or supported at least by the city. That's Kelowna," says Illman.

"We've got a lot of support from the community. They're the reason CrocTalk is what it is. But, we don't have the financial support to keep this thing operating back in the bush here in East Kelowna."

In order to continue in Kelowna Illman says he would need both financial support and support in finding a better location, preferably one along the highway.

"Kelowna has been my home for 26 years and I don't want to leave Kelowna but if I don't have the support or the property to maintain this, I can't do this."

He says the support in Kamloops has been positive.

"We've had a couple of meetings with the planning people up there and everybody is excited about the possibility of CrocTalk coming there," says Illman.

"There seems to be a little different feel in the air there than there is here. Should that be the case where there is no opportunity here (Kelowna), I have to do what's right for my animals. I will not put these animals in any jeopardy."

BC Wildlife Park will provide the property and he would put up the structure.

Illman says he still hasn't closed the door completely on Kelowna but says things would have to change soon for him to stay.

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