Centre for Plant Health to stay open

MP Elizabeth May celebrates Conservatives’ decision reversal

The Centre for Plant Health on East Saanich Road in North Saanich will remain open.

The Centre for Plant Health on East Saanich Road in North Saanich will remain open.

The Centre for Plant Health has been given a new lease on life.

On Oct. 29 the Conservative government announced their decision not to close the centre after MP Elizabeth May rallied for the centre to remain open.

“I am grateful to Minister Ritz for listening to our concerns and for re-thinking the earlier decision to move its quarantine and virus testing functions to Summerland, which is the heart of British Columbia’s fruit and wine region,” said May in a press release. “This is a victory for our community, and for all those elsewhere who fought to protect the excellent science done here for 100 years.”

The Centre for Plant Health has been a crucial site for the quarantine and virus-testing of new plant stock in the province for the last 100 years. Its location on Vancouver Island, separate from the mainland, has been an important prevention measure in the transfer of viruses or pests to B.C.’s primary agricultural regions. Six positions at the centre on East Saanich Road are being moved to Agriculture Canada’s facility in Summerland but 23 full time positions are being kept.

“This is a wonderful 100th birthday present to the Plant Health Centre and proof that a group of determined and engaged citizens can have a real impact,” said May.