By Connor Lynch
IROQUOIS — Real estate agent Marcel Smellink has confirmed that a controversial 696 acres purchased by Bonnefield, a farmland investment firm, from the University of Guelph was purchased for $3.25 million, and not the $5.5 million reported by former Bonnefield president Tom Eisenhauer.
Bonnefield vice-president of marketing, Lisa Courtney Lloyd, has confirmed that the $5.5-million figure was likely the asking price.
The investment firm purchased the 696 acres in three parcels 70 km east of Ottawa in July. About 600 acres were tillable. After tile draining, about 650 acres will be workable. Bonnefield plans to lease the land to area farmers.
The sale was a controversial one because the land had been gifted to the university by the estate of Rodney Maclaren on condition the land be used for agricultural research.
But the University of Guelph decided the best use of the land was to sell it and use the proceeds for scholarships and research.
Executor of his father’s estate, Geordie Maclaren, agreed, saying that he’d be working with the university to make sure the money gets used for what his father had asked.