The District of Saanich has received funding from the BC Ministry of Agriculture to conduct a Food Hub Feasibility Study to investigate a potential food hub in the District of Saanich. This work is being conducted by the consultant, Greenchain Consulting.
Food hubs refer to shared-use food and beverage processing facilities that offer food and agriculture businesses access to commercial processing space, equipment, expertise, and resources to support business development and growth. There is a network of food hubs across BC which vary in size and scale, depending on the needs and capacity of the regions in which they are located. Locally, there is one currently being established in the Capital region – the Victoria Community Food Hub.
The scope of work in the Food Hub Feasibility Study will include an assessment of the viability of a shared-use food processing facility for food and beverage producers and processors (target clients) in the areas of processing, food safety, training and education, research, business development support, facilities, storage, and equipment. The shared-used processing facility would integrate food processing and innovation activities and services within the District of Saanich.
The project will include data analysis and collection, stakeholder engagement, the creation of an ongoing steering committee, an interim and final feasibility report, and a presentation to the District. The project deliverables are:
- A database of regional stakeholders including potential food hub users, funders, landlords, advocates, food hub operators, service providers, and other partners.
- On-site and in-person stakeholder interviews to understand the needs of local food businesses that the food hub could potentially address.
- An interim report assessing the local food economy and identifying the needs of local food businesses.
- Presentation to the District on a recommended model, layout, and partnerships.
- A feasibility study that provides a feasible food hub business model for the Saanich area.
The District of Saanich has embarked on a process to develop a five-year Economic Development Strategy that creates a vision for the local economy and provides specific implementable actions to achieve economic resiliency and a path forward to sustain and grow a diverse and prosperous economy. This Strategy will aim to leverage the progress, assets and investments that have already been made in the District of Saanich and identify gaps that should be filled to create a diverse economy. The District’s strategic assets in the context of the Capital Regional District will be a prime focus of the Strategy, as is alignment with other municipal plans both existing and upcoming. The District of Saanich has hired Lions Gate Consulting, a leading advisor in the economic development field, to conduct the work, which will be coordinated by the Manager of Economic Development.
The scope of the work for the Strategy will be in 3 Stages occurring December 2022 to June 2023, that includes:
Stage 1: Analysis (December – February): an analysis of the current situation including a review of current demographic and economic indicators and relevant District studies and reports, and bylaws and policies. This background work will also profile economic sectors and provide an assessment of key trends and competitive forces and the current local business climate. A baseline report summarizing analysis will be prepared and shared for review.
Stage 2: Consultation (February – May): conduct consultation with key industry sectors, stakeholder groups, and partner organizations for input into strategy formulation. Engagement will include focus groups, interviews, surveys, workshops and a public open house. Based on the consultation feedback, strategic actions will be identified that address the economic challenges and opportunities for sustainable economic development in the community. From this work, a draft strategy framework will be prepared for review by the District to include mission and vision statements, as well as goals/objectives and focus areas.
Stage 3: Strategic Plan (May – June): based on the Stage 1 Analysis and Stage 2 Consultation processes, a Draft Economic Development Strategy will be prepared that will include Saanich’s top economic priorities for a five-year horizon and include an action plan for the implementation with reference to timing, resource requirements, partnerships and a performance measurement model.
Based on review and amendments by the District, the consultant will present the Final Economic Development Strategy to Mayor and Council.