The existing barn at RASTA Sanctuary is in need of a replacement. (Cole Schisler photo)

The existing barn at RASTA Sanctuary is in need of a replacement. (Cole Schisler photo)

Pamela Anderson pledges to help build barn for Vancouver Island farm animal rescue

RASTA Sanctuary in Chemainus B.C. thought a new barn was out of reach until Pamela Anderson arrived

Lucie Cerny has been operating Rescue And Sanctuary for Threatened Animals — a sanctuary for farm animals retired from the agricultural industry — for the past 20 years. In all that time, she never imagined she’d meet Ladysmith’s most famous resident, Pamela Anderson.

“It was an absolute honour, one truly beyond words to have the opportunity to host Ms. Anderson, her partner and their young son at our humble little Sanctuary here in Chemainus,” Cerny said in a Facebook post.

Pamela Anderson at the RASTA Sanctuary. (Photo submitted)

Pamela Anderson at the RASTA Sanctuary. (Photo submitted)

Anderson said she was moved by the work that Cerny is doing at RASTA.

“I was delighted and impressed by the peacefulness, happiness of the animals living in communities — not separated like a lot of sanctuaries have,” she said.

RELATED: Pamela Anderson returns home to enjoy ‘peace and solitude’ of Ladysmith

“It says so much about Lucie and her small group of dedicated volunteers. These are rescued vulnerable farm animals. Saved from slaughterhouses and other cruel terrible lives. It’s a mini heaven. It is emotional to be there. I look around and I can feel the effort put in to the design of the property. What’s gone into making the animals feel safe and loved. Lucie is an angel.”

Cerny gave Anderson a tour of the property, and after introducing Anderson the various animals at RASTA, pointed out the aging barn that RASTA has been working to replace.

The barn lacks a foundation and is sinking into the earth. It also lacks a proper roof. RASTA has fundraised for the last two years, and managed to raise $100,000 for a new barn. A previous builder had given a quote of $150,000, but after a lengthy mill strike and the pandemic, the new quote soared to $450,000.

“That completely utterly gutted us,” Cerny said.

RASTA was further gutted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the sanctuary to cancel their farm tours — a major source of funding for the charity.

Outside of farm tours, one of the main fundraisers for RASTA has been sales of a farm calendar. Cerny had hoped that Anderson would sign one of the RASTA 20th anniversary calendars, but Anderson blew Cerny away when she offered to help replace the aging barn.

“I get goosebumps. I get kind of choked up honestly,” Cerny said. “To have somebody of that incredible status to take an interest in what RASTA is and what RASTA has been doing, it was such a tremendous honour to have that validation from someone I look up to so much.”

A few hours later, Anderson returned with her partner Dan Hayhurst — a local builder with DHS Homes. Hayhurst happily agreed to take on the project.

RELATED: Pamela Anderson talks plans for waterfront Ladysmith property after 12-day marriage

“I was happy and even surprised when Dan told her he’d do it. Now, He is obsessed. He’s making calls everyday. Organizing/reviewing plans etc,” Anderson said. “I love it. I love to turn people on to charity. To do things from the heart and for no other reason. It’s what makes life worthwhile.”

The couple has pledged to do the entire project for a budget of $100,000. Hayhurst has set about finding materials for discounted prices, and has drawn together a talented team to help with the project.

“It’s amazed me how generous this community of people are — all you have to do is ask. Gifts of materials for the build are tax deductible. Services are not. I’m happy to help out free of charge. I’m not expecting anything out of this, but a few happy, healthy animals,” he said.

Hayhurst said that in a few short months, Cerny will have a brand new barn.

Once completed, the barn will house rescued birds, hay, feed, and will act as a quarantine space for new arrivals to RASTA. As it stands now, Cerny keeps the hay in her carport, the feed in her basement, and has a quarantine space in her home for new arrivals.

RASTA Sanctuary is still in need of donations to cover the costs of care for their animals. RASTA is a registered Canadian charity, any donations to RASTA are tax deductible.

For their part, Anderson and Hayhurst said that they are on the hunt for other opportunities to give back to the community.

RELATED: Very Good Butchers team up with Pamela Anderson Foundation to support plant-based eating

“We’re looking forward to doing other helpful projects in town,” Hayhurst said. “Pamela always has her eyes peeled. Not sure what I got myself into, but I love it.”

Pamela Anderson and her partner Dan Hayhurst say they're looking to do more community projects in the future. (Submitted photo)
Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton, standing at right, sits on steering committees of two organizations that are tackling the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. File photo
Courtenay councillor leads campaign to reduce building-sector GHG emissions

Courtenay councillor Will Cole-Hamilton wants local governments to carry a little more… Continue reading

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Numerous Comox Valley projects get CERIP grants

Numerous Comox Valley projects have received grants through the Community Economic Recovery… Continue reading

Thrifty Foods. (Black Press file photo)
Thrifty Foods confirms staff member tests positive for COVID-19 in Courtenay

The company currently lists 12 stores within B.C. with confirmed cases

Comox Valley Schools’ distance learning program, Navigate (NIDES), which saw some large gains in enrolment this year, could see a return to normal numbers come September. Image, screenshot
Comox Valley Schools expects enrolment drop come fall

Decline projected online, as more students return to ‘bricks-and-mortar’ classes

Cumberland will be looking to a parcel tax to cover debt for its new water system. File photo
Cumberland plans for parcel tax to cover water debt

Parcel tax review panel would take place March 22, if necessary

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s COVID-19 situation at the B.C. legislature. (B.C. government)
B.C. reports 10 additional deaths, 395 new COVID-19 cases

The majority of new coronavirus infections were in the Fraser Health region

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools is preparing a rapid response team proposal for submission to the B.C. Ministry of Education. (Chris Bush/News Bulletin)
Nanaimo-Ladysmith school district chosen as COVID-19 rapid response team

Team to consist of SD68 and Island Health staff, according to B.C. Ministry of Education

A new survey has found that virtual visits are British Columbian’s preferred way to see the doctor amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (Unsplash)
Majority of British Columbians now prefer routine virtual doctor’s visits: study

More than 82% feel virtual health options reduce wait times, 64% think they lead to better health

Captain and Maria, a pair of big and affectionate akbash dogs, must be adopted together because they are so closely bonded. (SPCA image)
Shuswap SPCA seeks forever home for inseparable Akbash dogs

A fundraiser to help medical expenses for Captain and Maria earned over 10 times its goal

The missing camper heard a GSAR helicopter, and ran from his tree well waving his arms. File photo
Man trapped on Manning mountain did nearly everything right to survive: SAR

The winter experienced camper was overwhelmed by snow conditions

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen, all 20, drown in the Sooke River in February 2020. (Contributed photos)
Coroner confirms ‘puddle jumping’ in 2020 drowning deaths of 3 B.C. men

Cory Mills, Eric Blackmore and A.J. Jensen pulled into raging river driving through nearby flooding

Castlegar doctor Megan Taylor contracted COVID-19 in November. This photo was taken before the pandemic. Photo: Submitted
Kootenay doctor shares experience contracting COVID-19

Castlegar doctor shares her COVID experience

Ashley Paxman, 29, is in the ICU after being struck by a vehicle along Highway 97 Feb. 18, 2021. She remains in critical condition. (GoFundMe)
Okanagan woman in ICU with broken bones in face after being struck by car

She remains in serious condition following Feb. 18 incident

Most Read