by Jim Bertram
At the present time, The Municipality of North Grenville is on the cusp of sealing an agreement with the Province for the acquisition of the major part of the Kemptville Campus: a total of 633 acres of land and a variety of buildings. We are very close at this time to a significant achievement – but not for the municipal government! This agreement is for the people of North Grenville.
Note, first of all, that the acquisition and development of the Campus WILL take place at minimal cost. Of course, there has already been some public investment in the project owing to the expenditures associated with employee time and expert consultations necessary to conduct negotiations. However, once acquired, the College will be professionally administered at arms length in a self- sustaining manner. Note that our current negotiation process has NOT pushed the NG tax increase above our 2 per cent commitment either last year or this. We are investing a little to gain a lot!
Further, the College IS now poised to become ONCE AGAIN a significant economic driver in our area. It already has a core of economic activity and is drawing interest from diverse sources which may be willing to locate at the College and provide jobs, customers, salaries, revenue and investment opportunities for NG citizens and enterprises. This reality will bloom once the College is acquired.
In short, as a member of Council who has participated in the Council acquisition process, I am willing to stake my reputation as a Councillor on the strength of Council’s plan to put the College back to work for North Grenville. It is my hope that you, the citizens of North Grenville, will follow and participate in our development process which will evolve in the public view once the acquisition is complete. So far, the reason for our inability to make the negotiation process a public event is that many aspects of these negotiations must be done in a way which allows our partners to have full latitude for action favourable to our requirements . And the best way to wreck sensitive negotiations is to ignore this necessity. At present, as said before, we are almost there with a complete agreement.
Of course, the rumour mill can invent a rich variety of explanations for what is occurring as we complete the agreement. These rumours don’t require any proof to be believed by many. And, as often happens, the rumours grow and metastasize on each other. “Easy to avoid”, one might say. “Just give us all the details”. And that would be so easy, tempting even. But that would surely risk the loss of what we have been working on for more than a year of intensive negotiations.
In conclusion, the Council you elected and the staff you employ have been working hard for you and our community on this project. Thoughtful and critically-minded political figures, top-flight municipal staff and hired expert consultants have produced a first-class agreement to acquire the College. It is my sincere opinion that a bright new chapter in North Grenville’s future will begin with the imminent completion of this agreement. I hope you will support our efforts as we bring this project home.