General News

‘Living Lab’ blossoming at Kingbridge

June 23, 2021   ·   0 Comments

By Mark Pavilons

The Kingbridge Innovation Hub and Living Lab is bring a fresh approach that will be meaningful for King Township.
Kingbridge executive director Karen Dubeau told King councillors about their initiatives during the recent virtual council meeting.
Dubeau noted the centre has the luxury of time to spend building out its assets. Technology, long-term, high-potential solutions are all part of the plan to make an impact. Nurturing the land and the environment is part of Kingbridge’s mantra.
Dubeau said the idea is to create a network of living labs, for demonstrations, research, education and immersive experiences for both residents and visitors. They plan to encourage community engagement to help “co-create” solutions.
Kingbridge, she said, is not an “ivory tower” facility and the key to success is listening, engaging and building partnerships of purpose.
Hopes are the centre will develop 30, 60 and 90-day action plans with partners such as Seneca College and the King Chamber of Commerce. Working closely with York Region and King Township, the connections and plans will spiral outward.
Areas of interest include priority needs, strategic partnerships, project opportunities and scalable ventures.
Dubeau said they’ve stared with some outdoor projects by planting trees, in keeping with the federal government’s plan to plant one billion trees across the country. Their tree nursery is a forest incubator and includes species at risk.
The incubator would involve species migration studies, tracking invasive species, seed banks, demo sights and more.
“The solution isn’t trees. It’s trees plus math. It’s an issue of scaling.”
The Hub can help support start-ups that need infrastructure and need to demonstrate the value of their propositions. The Hub can be their first ecosystem partners and first customers. They’d like to help foster innovative farmers, agri-innovators, environmental engineers and environmental designers.
Dubeau also told councillors of their newest residents – some 80,000 honey bees. It’s part of a project that includes showing the important of pollinators to agriculture. It will be experiential to visitors and residents. They will partner with Seneca and the research on hives will provide data and modelling across King Township.
The plans for the rest of this year include launching demonstrations, expanding visibility and reach and reviewing 10 potential venture opportunities. Dubea said they hope to old some events, including in-person visits.
In 2022 and beyond, the Hub hopes to secure investments and attract ventures and talent to King. This will generate revenue and also create employment opportunities.
Dubeau extended an invitation to councillors to tour the property and share their insights.
She said they hope to prepare an MOU this fall, which identify concrete projects and investment opportunities. These, she said, will closely align with King’s strategic plans.
Mayor Steve Pellegrini said the Township is excited about the plans and is impressed by how the Hub has integrated everything so brilliantly.



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