The price has yet to be divulged but the Municipality of North Grenville has cut a purchase agreement “in principle” to take over most of Kemptville College from the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario.
It’s taken close to three years of determined talks to arrive at this surprising turn of events. Some doubting Thomas’ predicted that a deal would never be reached because the property was too valuable to a cash-strapped provincial government.
But they were wrong. North Grenville CAO Brian Carre and Mayor Dave Gordon never let up and, ultimately, their persistence paid off. Congratulations!… unless of course they got fleeced on the price which is unlikely because it’s a case of one government handing off to another.
Carre says financial details will only be disclosed when the agreement of purchase and sale is finalized and signed off some time before next April. He insists the municipality will soon be celebrating the college’s 100th anniversary which technically occurred this year.
According to a plan the municipality devised after the University of Guelph announced in 2014 abandonment of the satellite campus, the hub will be focused on three pillars: education and training, health and wellness, and economic development. Climate change adaptation and agricultural “resiliency’’ will be broad themes.
The agreement reflects the needs of both the municipality and the province, said OMAFRA Minister Jeff Leal in taking the unusual step of thanking Carre for ‘’working diligently’’ to help achieve a positive outcome. North Grenville Mayor Dave Gordon thanked Leal, ARIO and even U of G for continued support in maintaining campus facilities throughout the transition.
While there had been last-minute rumours, the news that U of G would no longer support either Kemptville Campus or its French-language satellite in Alfred came like a bolt from the blue when it was made in March, 2014. Supporters of both institutions rallied and began to pressure the province for help in reorganizing the campuses with a continuing emphasis on agricultural education.
The new Alfred came together quite readily and is now operated by a community college with an agricultural component. Meanwhile, Kemptville languished, with the last vestiges of the old school evaporating and some of the buildings being used for elementary and secondary education.
Until now! Carre confirmed the municipality will be acquiring 633 acres of land and 34 main campus buildings on the west side of Prescott Street and north of Biddell Road, including cropland, forest, trail system, greenhouses, teaching and administrative buildings, residences and refurbished cafeteria.
“We look forward to the next 100 years as a renewed and relevant Kemptville Campus Education and Community Hub.”