Kemptville Campus – The North Grenville Times http://www.ngtimes.ca The Voice of North Grenville Thu, 11 Jan 2018 14:24:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.1 The Future http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-future/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/the-future/#respond Wed, 10 Jan 2018 19:59:06 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10467 Lots happening in North Grenville these days. The announcement of a new hotel coming to Kemptville is an exciting development for all sectors of the local economy. For quite a few years now, the need for more hotel accommodation in Kemptville has been clear, and there have been a few entrepreneurs interested in launching a […]

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Lots happening in North Grenville these days. The announcement of a new hotel coming to Kemptville is an exciting development for all sectors of the local economy. For quite a few years now, the need for more hotel accommodation in Kemptville has been clear, and there have been a few entrepreneurs interested in launching a project over those years.

The problem has always been a chicken and egg kind of thing. On the one hand, if we had a large hotel, we could attract conventions, seminars and other gatherings to places like the Municipal Centre and Kemptville College. We could also have even more sporting events, as the North Grenville Curling Club and Little League Baseball have managed to put on. Imagine, it was felt, what more we could do with our facilities here, if more people could only stay the night, instead of having to commute back and forth from Ottawa or Brockville.

There is no doubt that the number of major events which could be held in the municipality would greatly increase with a corresponding increase in accommodation. But, on the other hand, those who researched the economics of opening another hotel here found that, as it stood, there would not be enough business to keep a hotel in profit until more events could be brought in. Weekends would be fine, but the mid-week stays would not meet the minimum required to make a hotel commercially viable.

You will remember that the Holiday Inn chain had announced that they were opening a hotel on the land where Starbucks is now operating, and their sign stood in that empty field for many, many months. But no hotel arrived. So, the news that the Comfort Inn were planning to open a location in Kemptville has been met with a somewhat ambivalent response. The news is great, and the possibilities opened up by the hotel chain announcement are virtually unlimited for North Grenville. We certainly wish the parties involved all the best and would love to see them succeed.

So, also, would those people in the community who have already jumped in with ideas about how the swimming pool in the new hotel could be opened to the public, if the Municipality would get involved in some kind of deal with Comfort Inn and Suites. That, I fear, is hoping beyond what is likely, or even possible, though it would be one way to get a swimming pool in the area – possibly the only way it could happen, given the economics.

The other big news, of course, is the agreement which has, it seems, been finally signed between Ontario and North Grenville regarding the future of the Kemptville College campus. Perhaps now the taxpayers will find out precisely what the financial terms of the deal are, and will be hoping that they are as favourable as we have been led to believe.

Whatever the agreement involves, it will be of genuine importance for the economic development of North Grenville in the coming decades. The College is a prime piece of real estate, and, as with the hotel news, it holds great potential for a wide variety of agricultural, commercial, educational and social initiatives. The deal has taken three years to reach, in which time a lot has changed. The entire campus property is not included in the agreement, and what the future of the excluded property will be is of concern. Will it be sold for development of other kinds?

The farm and arena on the east side of County Road 44 is not part of the municipality’s share of the land, so that valuable asset remains outside municipal control. What the future holds for that parcel will be fascinating to see. In fact, what the Municipality does with the section they are assuming will also be a fascinating conundrum for whatever Board of Directors are appointed to run the not-for-profit body it is intended to establish to administer the property. Who will those Board members be, who will nominate and appoint them, and what role will the Municipality have in the process? What commitments have been made by the CAO and Mayor in reaching this deal with Ontario?

What are the intentions of the two French language School Boards already using buildings and facilities on campus? It is rumoured, at least, that one of them has plans to buy their section of the land and building they occupy. Will the planned school at the corner of County Road 43 and Somerville Road go ahead, or will the College become the new educational centre for french language education in the area?

Yes, there’s a lot happening in North Grenville theses days, as we enter an exciting year of elections and change. To steal and mangle a quote: Though Trump is angered and Putin is vexed, we’ll still stick around to see what happens next!

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Just about there! http://www.ngtimes.ca/just-about-there/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/just-about-there/#respond Wed, 13 Dec 2017 19:54:01 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=10201 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 […]

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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.

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North Grenville receives EODP funding http://www.ngtimes.ca/north-grenville-receives-eodp-funding/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/north-grenville-receives-eodp-funding/#respond Wed, 29 Nov 2017 19:59:58 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9932 Kemptville Campus will receive $84,900 for redevelopment through the Eastern Ontario Development Program’s (EODP) Community Innovation projects stream. The announcement was made by Grenville Community Futures Development Corporation’s Executive Director Heather Lawless at the Economic Development Summit held at the North Grenville Municipal Centre recently. “This investment in the Municipality of North Grenville will assist […]

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Kemptville Campus will receive $84,900 for redevelopment through the Eastern Ontario Development Program’s (EODP) Community Innovation projects stream. The announcement was made by Grenville Community Futures Development Corporation’s Executive Director Heather Lawless at the Economic Development Summit held at the North Grenville Municipal Centre recently.

“This investment in the Municipality of North Grenville will assist in repurposing a significant community asset, increasing community capacity for business development and positioning the community for economic diversification activities,” said GCFDC Chair Chris McCorkell.

The funding is pending completion on the sale of the former Kemptville College Campus to the Municipality of North Grenville from the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario, a provincial agency of the Ontario government. Once the sale is complete, the money will help to transform Kemptville Campus into a multi-tenant, education and community hub focusing on three pillars: education and training, health and wellness, and economic development.

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Joint statement on agreement in principle to sell a large portion of Kemptville campus http://www.ngtimes.ca/joint-statement-agreement-principle-sell-large-portion-kemptville-campus/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/joint-statement-agreement-principle-sell-large-portion-kemptville-campus/#comments Wed, 08 Nov 2017 17:30:10 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=9555 Joint statement on agreement in principle to sell a large portion of Kemptville campus Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal and David Gordon, Mayor of North Grenville, released the following joint statement: November 8, 2017 The Government of Ontario and Municipality of North Grenville are pleased to have reached an agreement in […]

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Joint statement on agreement in principle to sell a large portion of Kemptville campus
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs Jeff Leal and David Gordon, Mayor of North Grenville, released the following joint statement:

November 8, 2017

The Government of Ontario and Municipality of North Grenville are pleased to have reached an agreement in principle to sell a large portion of the main campus, and surrounding property of the former Kemptville College Campus, where the University of Guelph previously delivered agricultural programming, to the Municipality of North Grenville.

This agreement in principle, when implemented, will help North Grenville transform the majority of the Kemptville campus into a multi-tenant, education and community hub focussing on 3 pillars: education and training, health and wellness and economic development. By working together, we are ensuring that the Kemptville site remains a positive economic asset for the community.

“I am pleased that by working with the Municipality of North Grenville, we have reached an agreement in principle that reflects the needs of the municipality and the province. I’d like to also take the opportunity to thank Brian Carré, Chief Administrative Officer, for working diligently to help achieve a positive outcome for all parties” said Jeff Leal, Minister of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs.

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to Minister Leal, the ARIO and the University of Guelph for their continued support to maintain the facilities throughout this transition. The renewal of the former Kemptville Campus will see the property and building infrastructure repurposed for bilingual education and related community service activities, under the mandate of climate change adaptation and agricultural resiliency. Partnership discussions with both public and private sector organizations, including government and private industry are ongoing” said David Gordon, Mayor of the Municipality of North Grenville.

This outcome is good news for the residents of North Grenville, surrounding communities and the province. The agreement in principle fulfills the Ontario government’s commitment to find innovative and sustainable solutions that return value for Ontario taxpayers while helping the municipality meet the local needs of the community.

We look forward to providing additional details regarding this agreement once finalized.

Quick Facts:

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 enter into negotiations with North Grenville to transfer the property to the municipality.

In 2015, the government established a Learning Working Group to explore new learning models for delivering learning, training and instruction at the Kemptville campus. The working group’s report concluded there were no early adopters for post-secondary education at the campus at that time.

Subsequently, Minister Leal instructed OMAFRA to collaborate with the Municipality of North Grenville to reach a solution that meets the needs of North Grenville and Eastern Ontario while ensuring a fair return for Ontario taxpayers.

Findings from a 2016 BDO Feasibility Study recommended a mixed use education and community hub for the renewal of the Kemptville Campus.

The terms of the agreement in principle to sell a portion of the land and facilities owned by the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO), a provincial agency reporting to OMAFRA, to the Municipality of North Grenville ensures that Ontario taxpayers receive a fair return on the sale.

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Not on the radar http://www.ngtimes.ca/not-on-the-radar/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/not-on-the-radar/#comments Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:00:00 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=4299 I sat down with a downtown Kemptville resident this week in a local coffee shop. I asked him what subject was important to him, one that he wishes someone would talk about in the North Grenville Times. His response was that it seems like there’s a lot of uncertainty around downtown Kemptville and its future […]

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I sat down with a downtown Kemptville resident this week in a local coffee shop. I asked him what subject was important to him, one that he wishes someone would talk about in the North Grenville Times. His response was that it seems like there’s a lot of uncertainty around downtown Kemptville and its future these days. He said that he wished that people who lived downtown and were on limited income knew what was happening in the downtown area, so that they knew what their futures might hold. Rarely does it appear that we consider how our ‘big plans’ impact those people who are the most vulnerable and least mobile in our community. There are a number of situations affecting downtown that are currently up in the air, and there seems to be little information being shared about their status.

For example, many have asked about the fate of Kemptville Landing, the two condominiums towers that were to be built by the LA Group in downtown Kemptville. There was a ground breaking last year, but still no work being done. The hope was that this would bring a large number of people to live in the downtown area and increase foot traffic for local businesses. The project seems to have hit several roadblocks along the way, including a re-design of the buildings and property. This is also uncharted waters for the municipality, in terms of increasing population density in downtown Kemptville on such a large scale. So far, though, all we really know for sure is that not even one of the two towers has materialized.

Kemptville Campus is another issue that would affect downtown. It’s still unknown whether the municipality will be able to buy the campus from the Provincial Government. If they do, will they stick to the business plan that they paid a lot of money for, or go in a new direction? One has to wonder how long it will take to attract enough tenants to be able to cover the cost of buying and operating the campus. Maybe there are some possible tenants lined up already? There’s lots of rumours about who might, or might not, be interested.

Another piece to the puzzle is the state of the underground infrastructure (water and sewer). It apparently needs a very big investment to get it functioning properly. Some people believe that the municipality may have to sell off some of the campus land in order to pay for the work. North Grenville CAO, Brian Carré, said that he expects to have an update on the Kemptville College situation at the end of March.

There’s also the issue surrounding the ongoing empty commercial spaces in Downtown Kemptville. The Old Town Kemptville Business Improvement Area [BIA] seems to be making efforts to try and make things happen, but their attempts to solicit help from council and the municipality seem to be falling on deaf ears. The BIA’s pop-up shop program is an attempt to attract businesses to fill the empty spaces in downtown, but the program seems to be stalled, as the BIA looks for the funding necessary to help launch it. Some people believe that downtown is dead and money is just being wasted on it at this point. However, there seems to be a lot of positive activity happening for an area that some people have written off. Just this week, we learned that an Eastern Ontario firm called ISI Controls Inc. has leased the empty space at 113 Prescott Street for three years, and could have as many as ten employees moving in on April 1.

If all of these situations turned out positively, then surely downtown property values would go up? If property values went up, then the current property owners, who have been sitting on properties without maintaining or improving them, or even trying to bring in tenants, would logically look to sell. If they did, there’s a very good chance that residential rents would go up, with new property owners having paid more for those properties. Would the new owners even want to have rental properties? The municipality and council would be happy, because they would collect more property tax because of the higher property values. But what about people on fixed incomes who can’t afford their current hydro bills and now must pay more rent? I doubt anyone seriously considered that possibility. Then again, it rarely seems like people with limited means get much consideration in North Grenville.

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Out for a little exercise http://www.ngtimes.ca/out-for-a-little-exercise/ http://www.ngtimes.ca/out-for-a-little-exercise/#respond Thu, 23 Feb 2017 20:59:52 +0000 http://www.ngtimes.ca/?p=3679 I’m sure that the convoy of military trucks and equipment that rolled into Kemptville late Friday night raised the eyebrows of a few local residents. They were headed for Kemptville Campus for exercise ‘JADE SAVITAR’. The exercise consisted of establishing a field headquarters and the deployment of telecommunications equipment. They arrived on Friday night at […]

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I’m sure that the convoy of military trucks and equipment that rolled into Kemptville late Friday night raised the eyebrows of a few local residents. They were headed for Kemptville Campus for exercise ‘JADE SAVITAR’. The exercise consisted of establishing a field headquarters and the deployment of telecommunications equipment. They arrived on Friday night at 10 pm amid one of the coldest snaps of the winter and quickly set up their headquarters and equipment both inside and around the Purvis Hall building.
The exercise was conducted by two reserve units from Ottawa, the 33 Signal Regiment and the 7 Intelligence Company. Two large communications trucks, one large outdoor tent and two large pieces of antenna equipment could be seen to set up outside the building and numerous computers and other communications equipment were set up inside on the main floor of Purvis Hall. There were approximately 90 soldiers participating between the two units, with one part of the group actually set up about 1 km away out on the campus grounds and another in Limerick Forest. Some of the electronic warfare equipment that was used is very specialized and is only being used by one other reserve unit in all of Canada. One of the pieces of equipment used was a big, green satellite antenna that is inflatable and shaped like an eight-foot tall soccer ball. When not inflated, it can be stored in a small box. It is fondly known as a ‘Gator’ to the troops that use it, as it is manufactured by a US company named GATR.
Lieutenant Shareif Mahmoud, the Public Affairs Representative for 33 Signal Regiment, was very gracious with his time and knowledge as he shared information about the exercise itself, and the two units involved. He also took time along with a handful of other soldiers to escort members of North Grenville Council and members of the two local sea cadets units around the exercise compound and answered their questions. Lieutenant Mahmoud said that these types of exercises are very important to the units as they get a chance to: verify equipment functionality, troubleshoot equipment in a ‘live’ environment and to get new members of the unit some field experience.
When asked what some of the soldiers thought of the campus as a location for this type of exercise, Lieutenant Mahmoud said that he had heard very positive feedback from the troops. Kemptville and the campus are an ideal place for them because it is an urban setting that has lots of space to allow them to spread out their operations. The location is only about an hour’s drive from the unit’s home in Ottawa. 33 Signal Regiment and other Ottawa units often conduct exercises at Connaught Ranges in Ottawa. Lieutenant Mahmoud shared that the troops enjoyed the change of scenery and being outside of Ottawa for a weekend. He also made a special point of wanting to say ‘thank you to the people of Kemptville who were very gracious and welcoming’.

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