The upcoming Boundary Food Hub, first announced to the public in March last year, is experiencing major changes to its initial planning as a result of location issues and high construction costs.
The hub, planned to serve across Regional District of Kootenay Boundary (RDKB), was originally meant to include a new meat-processing facility at Rock Creek’s Riverside Center and a commercial bakery and food-testing lab in Greenwood’s Barbara Diane Colin Memorial Ball Park.
However, there will no longer be a commercial bakery, and the hub will be located at one location instead of two.
The hub will now be located on nine acres of Agricultural Land Reserve land on Hwy 3 in Kettle Valley and is expecting approval for non-farm use from the Agricultural Land Commission for 1 acre this fall.
“In the end, this gives us a better location to be able to accommodate multiple aspects of the Food Hub in one place,” Vicki Gee, RDKB’s Area ‘E’/West Boundary Director, said in a statement to Grand Forks Gazette.
According to the statement, construction costs are negatively impacting the project and all potential bakery clients dropped out of the project.
“We are now focusing on a plan for a meat only processing facility. It will contain a common area and space for a food test lab. It will be designed so that it can easily be extended as we take on other types of processing,” Gee said.
The business plan for the meat facility focuses on long term lease space for Magnum Meats as the anchor tenant and a value added meat processing area available for daily rental.
The value added area plans include a smokehouse and sausage making equipment, and it will be available to rent to any individual or business who has completed the proper equipment training.
Despite the changes, the goal of the food hub remains the same: to support local businesses.
The Boundary Food Hub has received funding from multiple groups, including $750,000 from the provincial government announced in 2021.
Other funding includes a $200,000 Supply Chain Resiliency grant used to purchase two reefer trailers. The trailers are already available for daily rentals, where client provides their own driver and vehicle.
The hub has also received a $50,000 Economic Trust of the Southern Interior grant to be used towards soft costs of Food Hub development; $180,500 from Boundary Economic Development Services (RDKB) over three years for the food test lab, administration costs, hiring a permanent half-time economic development manager and for project development; and $140,000 from Area E Gas Tax, a Community Building Fund from federal government, for water treatment and septic on the property.
Funding is also being put towards food scientists to work with individual businesses, branding of the hub, business planning, marketing and IT support.
Those interested in learning how the food hub can support their business can email email@example.com.