“In the November 22nd, 2017 edition of the North Grenville Times, a statement entitled “The College – A Done Deal”, inferred that “a local firm representing investors who manage a humanitarian fund” was involved in discussions with Premier Wynne and Minister Leal to acquire the property. I would like to caution readers of the North Grenville Times that the author’s inference is out of context and unsubstantiated. I can confirm with you that no attempts were made by the North Grenville Times or the author of the statement to corroborate this presumption, either with the Municipality of North Grenville or the Province, prior to the statement being printed. Council and our CAO have been clear, transparent and on the record when providing details of the negotiations with the Province of Ontario.”
Mayor Gordon then gave a brief rundown of some facts and timeline related to the Campus including the following:
- Following a 5-month public consultation process in 2014, Lyle Vanclief, the Provincially-appointed Facilitator to provide advice on the path forward for Kemptville Campus, submitted a report along with his recommendation for the renewal of the property, to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs, the Honourable Jeff Leal. A copy of the report is available for review on the Ministry’s website. (http://omafra.gov.on.ca/english/about/kemptville.pdf)
- Vanclief’s recommendation was that “The Government of Ontario enter into negotiations with the Municipality of North Grenville to transfer the ongoing management and operation of the Kemptville College Campus to the Municipality with the eventual divestiture of the lands and buildings known as the Kemptville Campus from the Government of Ontario to the Municipality of North Grenville in order to renew and redevelop the Campus into an educational and multi-purpose community hub that meets the needs of eastern Ontario; and that financial support be provided by the Government of Ontario to assist with the management and transfer”.
The report also identified all organizations and individuals that Mr. Vanclief met with and received additional communications from as well as a list of all proposals received. I can confirm that the local firm referred to in the statement was not identified in the report.
- On January 30th, 2015, Minister Leal issued a news release confirming that the Province was entering into negotiations with the Municipality of North Grenville to transfer the property to the Municipality. A copy of the news release is available for review on the Ministry’s website. (https://news.ontario.ca/omafra/en/2015/1/ontario- addressing-recommendations-for-kemptville-and-alfred-campuses.html)
- Since January 30th, 2015, the Province of Ontario has consistently and continuously responded to any and all expressions of interest for the property that it was negotiating exclusively with North Grenville and referred any interested parties to the Municipality. This was reconfirmed on Thursday, November 23rd, 2017 by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) and Minister Leal himself in a telephone conversation with Mayor Gordon.
- Since January 30th, 2015, the Municipality of North Grenville has not received an expression of interest from the local firm referred to in the statement to partner on the development of the education and community hub for the purpose of training foreign students in sustainable agricultural practices.
Mayor Gordon ended by stating that, as always, the Municipality “welcomes any and all expressions of interest that are aligned with its mission to develop the Kemptville Campus education and community hub, focusing on climate change adaptation, low carbon innovation and agricultural resiliency under the pillars of education and training, health and wellness and economic development.
I trust this information will clarify for all residents of North Grenville, current tenants on campus and future partners of the education and community hub that the status of the Kemptville Campus acquisition is on track and in keeping with the joint statement made by Minister Leal and myself. I urge all interested parties to contact our CAO, Brian Carré should you have any questions regarding the status of the acquisition and the Municipality’s vision for the renewal of Kemptville Campus.”