Representatives of the Ferguson Forest Centre Corporation [FFCC] have approached the Municipality about entering into an agreement with the Forest Gene Conservation Association (FGCA) on their Butternut Recovery Program. The agreement would involve the sublet of facilities and fields at the Ferguson Forest Centre. As tenants of the Forest Centre, the FFCC requires the permission of the Municipality to go into a long term sublet agreement with the FGCA. It is expected that the FFCC will rent office space of approximately 300 square feet on the second floor of the FFCC administrative office and shipping building. The rent for the proposed sublease is established at $250 per month.
There is also a need for expansion at the FFC greenhouse complex for Grafting Facilities, and during the 15-year term of the sub-lease, a long term seed orchard of about five acres for Butternut and other species at risk will be established, as well as overwinter storage facilities for grafts. The grafting facilities will require the addition of a 24 foot by 108 foot grafting greenhouse and an accompanying shade structure. As part of the partnership agreement with the FFCC, the FGCA will provide capital funds ($100,000 to $150,000) to cover the costs of expansion.
Under the terms of the sub-lease, the FFCC will provide staffing and logistical support, maintenance and associated expenses for the expanded greenhouse facilities, once they are fully erected and functional, and facility management. The sublet agreement will be for a term of 15 years for the seed archive area, and 10 years for the expanded greenhouse facilities, after which time the FFC will become the sole owner and can then start charging a rental fee to cover expenses if renewal is required. The sub-lease will expire at the same time as the FFCC’s main lease with the Municipality.
The FFCC argued that the benefits to North Grenville will be substantial and practical. At least three full-time equivalent positions will be maintained, and the municipality will obtain a centre of excellence in species at risk grafting and archiving. The goal of the FGCA and FFCC in this agreement is to provide seed to help reintroduce tolerant Butternut into Ontario’s forests.