Alfred-Plantagenet prepares bid for food hub project

Gregg Chamberlain
EAP
Alfred-Plantagenet Township is preparing a plan to bring the proposed regional food hb project to its community.

Mayor Stéphane Sarrazin confirmed that the municipality is working out a proposal for the project based in the Village of Alfred. He said that an announcement on the township’s intention would be made during the June 1 municipal council session.

“I think that it looks good,” he said.

Several Prescott-Russell communities have prepared proposals to become the site of a planned regional food hub. The United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) announced plans in 2020 to develop a regional food processing plant as an economic development project. The plant would provide local farmers and livestock producers a close-to-home processing site for their produce for later sale to food wholesalers. It would also serve as alternate site for farmers and livestock producers in other parts of Eastern Ontario who would save on time and shipping costs compared to sending their products for processing elsewhere in Ontario.

Sarrazin noted that several other communities in Prescott-Russell were vying to become the site for the regional food hub but have now had second thoughts about their proposals. The main drawback, he observed, is the impact that a large-scale processing plant would have on their water and sewer service capacity.

“In Alfred,” he said, “we believe we could do such a project. We have the water capacity.”

The township wants to partner with l’Union culturelle franco-ontarien (UCF0), which has ownership control of the lower campus lands of the former Alfred College. The 300-acre site, Sarrazin said, would be a perfect location for the regional food processing plant.

The  mayor noted that the township’s proposal calls for setting up two or more biodigesters as part of the development to meet the waste treatment needs of the plant.

The township has contacted the UCFO about its proposal. Sarrazin reported initial response is positive. Should the Tuesday June 1 session of council see confirmation of township’s intent to go ahead with its proposal, the municipality will then prepare a more detailed brief to present to the UCPR.