Excerpt of open letter to Ontario Agricultural Minister Lisa Thompson:
It has come to our attention that the Agricultural Research Institute of Ontario (ARIO) is considering the transfer of the former Kemptville College farm property from the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs to the Ministry of the Solicitor General (SolGen), a move that will result in the destruction of heritage farmland in order to build the proposed 235-bed Eastern Ontario Correctional Complex.
The targeted land has a century-long history of farming, education and agritourism, and served as an agricultural hub for the Eastern Ontario farming community.
As the minister responsible, we ask that you do not authorize the transfer of this property from your ministry to SolGen, and instead take a strong stand in support of preserving Ontario’s farmland and agricultural heritage.
ARIO continues to own 182 acres of the lands comprising the former Kemptville Agricultural School (circa 1917) having sold approximately 633 acres to the Municipality of North Grenville in 2018 for the development of an Education and Community Centre, now referred to as the Kemptville Campus.
The land still in ARIO’s possession is a stone’s throw from the campus and includes prime agricultural land, comprising mainly class 2 and 3 soils; it sits prominently at the south entrance to the small town of Kemptville.
A large section of the property north of College Street will be paved over to build the proposed Eastern Ontario Correctional Complex, which will also result in the destruction of the numerous serviceable farm and heritage buildings on the site.
A 2014 report by former federal Minister of Agriculture Lyle Vanclief, and commissioned by the provincial government, recommended that the property be preserved in its entirety and transferred to the municipality, but sadly this did not come to pass.
Oxford Mills, Ontario
On behalf of the Coalition Against the
Proposed Prison (Kemptville)