Province Creating Community Hub to Focus on Education, Health and Economic Development.
Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Ontario and the Municipality of North Grenville are partnering to transform the former Kemptville campus of the University of Guelph into an education and community hub.
The agreement will allow for the transformation of the majority of the Kemptville campus – a site where the University of Guelph previously delivered agricultural programming – into an education and community hub that focuses on: education and training, health and wellness and economic development emphasizing climate change resiliency and low carbon innovation.
As a hub that will offer a range of services for the community, the former campus will continue to deliver economic benefits over the long term. The transfer fulfills Ontario’s commitment to find innovative and sustainable solutions that help the municipality meet the local needs of the community.
Supporting communities in the renewal of public spaces is part of Ontario’s plan to create fairness and opportunity during this period of rapid economic change that includes a higher minimum wage and better working conditions, free tuition for hundreds of thousands of students, easier access to affordable child care, and free prescription drugs for everyone under 25 through the biggest expansion of medicare in a generation.
In 2014, the province hired Lyle Vanclief, a former federal Minister of Agriculture, to explore options for the future of the campus. His report recommended that the government transfer the property to the municipality. Ontario and North Grenville worked together to complete an agreement of purchase and sale which would support the municipality’s vision of the hub as a place for education and training, health and wellness and economic development.
In March 2018, the municipality will acquire a large portion of the main campus and surrounding property including approximately 633 acres of land, including 34 buildings.
While community hubs are locally-driven, the province’s role is to make it easier for community partners to offer services that are integrated and coordinated, strengthening community partnerships and making the best use of public space.
CommunityHubsOntario.ca offers free resources on community hub development, including webinar training sessions, a community hub mapper and various other tools.
“By working together, we are ensuring that the Kemptville site continues to be a positive economic asset for the community and for Ontario. The Kemptville campus played a pivotal role for agriculture in Eastern Ontario for the past 100 years. Its transformation to an education and community hub under the direction of North Grenville positions it to play an equally relevant and innovative role over the next century.” Jeff Leal, Ontario Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs
“It has been an extensive process, but we are extremely pleased that an agreement has been reached, and we are looking forward to further exploring the possibilities for the development of the hub and the benefits it will bring to our community.” David Gordon, Mayor of North Grenville
“I would like to reiterate my thanks to the Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal and his staff, ARIO and the University of Guelph for their resource deployment during the transition as well as to the Province for their involvement in the negotiations.”
Chief Administrative Officer, Municipality of North Grenville.