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Rock Creek property gets green light for food hub

Plans for a commercial food processing facility outside of Rock Creek have cleared a key hurdle.

The Agricultural Land Commission has given the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary its blessing to use a nine-acre parcel for what will be known as the Boundary Food Hub.

Approval from the commission is required when more than half of the product processed on land within the agricultural reserve is not also produced there.

The RDKB has received $1.5 million in grants for the project, the biggest of which comes from the Feed BC/BC Food Hub Network.

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The non-profit Boundary Community Ventures Association was formed to create the food hub under the oversight of the RDKB, which is responsible for the grants. Independently, the association has acquired $50,000 for the food hub and a further $161,720 toward feasibility and planning of future projects.

The cost to acquire the $300,000 parcel was included in the RDKB’s 2021 budget, but the sale didn’t close until March 2022. Financing was done through short-term borrowing, to be repaid over five years.

The RDKB says it decided to buy the parcel came after the original plan to put the food processing facility on the Riverside Centre property fell through. Following a search for land in Greenwood, Midway, and the adjacent rural areas, they opted for the parcel in question.

They say it offered the best value in size, future farming activities and proximity to abattoirs in the Rock Creek area for meat processing.

Next steps in the development of the food hub will see the RDKB and Boundary Community
Ventures sign a lease outlining roles and responsibilities for each party for site development and construction and management of facilities. Boundary Community Ventures will then begin developing the facility.

“In our ongoing efforts to move toward food security, job creation, and the ability to process products locally, the RDKB is pleased to have provided the opportunity for this much-needed facility in the Boundary,” RDKB board chair Linda Worley said in a news release.

“With the generous grant funding from the province and through the hard work and perseverance of the Boundary Community Ventures Association, we thank everyone who is making this project a reality.”

“This is so exciting,” added Grace McGregor, vice-chair of the RDKB and president of Boundary Community Ventures. “We should all be doing our part to help local food producers. I am so pleased that the provincial government and the RDKB understand the need.”

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