A site blessing performed by elders from local First Nations and a ground breaking ceremony marked the start of construction for a new plant health diagnostic and research facility at the Canadian Food Inspection Agency's (CFIA) Centre for Plant Health in North Saanich, B.C.
The aim of the modern, built-for-purpose greenhouse and header is to improve efficiencies, increase capacity and support a stronger plant science network in Canada.
The Centre for Plant Health is Canada's only post-entry quarantine, research and diagnostic facility dedicated to the protection of tree fruit, grapevines and small fruit. The scientific work at the Centre for Plant Health is of national importance according to the CFIA. By ensuring that imported plant material is free from diseases, developing new DNA-based testing, and keeping a repository of confirmed virus-free vines, the Centre for Plant Health protects plant resources and the natural environment from pathogens, viruses and other plant diseases. Services the CFIA states are essential to Canada's agricultural and agri-food sector.
The new facility is a first step to providing CFIA scientists and collaborators with state-of-the-art amenities and modernized tools to advance plant science while supporting Canadian agriculture, global trade and economic growth. The facility will also promote scientific collaboration to help advance plant health research and innovation.
Artists from local First Nations will incorporate Coast Salish stories into the design and artwork of the site and buildings. Furthermore, plants used in the landscaping will be native or locally adapted species that take inspiration from Indigenous stories and traditional uses. Construction will begin in fall 2022 and is anticipated to be completed by 2025.