By MAGGIE M, Editor, Wedgee-in-Chief, theWedge.LIVE
It was a balmy Monday evening when the public coalesced in the gymnasium at Kemptville Campus. Attendees were eager to hear the town’s plans and share their own ideas and desires for this cherished destination.
Mosquitoes dodged among us. Cameras whirled. Lemon water poured. Good humour hovered over the proceedings. And old acquaintances were audibly rekindled.
“Thirteen of the seventeen buildings are almost fully-rented,” announced Pat Remillard, Project Director, Kemptville Campus.
Kemptville College was for many years a campus of The University of Guelph and renown for its focus on agriculture.
Most of the buildings and its land–633 of 850 acres–were purchased April 2018 by the Municipality of North Grenville. It’s not a “college” anymore.
Woodlands, crop lands, a maple bush, wetlands, walking trails, seventeen main buildings, sports facilities, two residences and one cafeteria were bundled in the acquisition.
Brian Carre, Chief Administrative Officer, North Grenville, and also Secretary Treasurer for the Campus, penned the deal. He proudly intimated the process from its $11 million valuation in 2015 to the time of purchase. Basically, the deal will not make a dent in local taxpayer’s wallets. This was received with cheers and a good round of applause.
This gem is now affectionately and indelibly branded as, “Kemptville Campus.”
It’s not really a campus although two anchor tenants are schools. There is a catering business in the former cafeteria building. Ryan’s Well made its home here. And both Ministries of Agriculture and Natural Resources are on-theme tenants.
It is ostensibly a mixed-use community hub evolving toward its final incarnation. That vision is not carved in stone–yet. Inviting the public into the process is important to this administration.
Ideas flowed from locals standing at the mic. “Heritage,” “museum,” “workshop,” were among their input. Mayor Peckford welcomed further presentation of their ideas wholeheartedly.
This is how a democratic government should be.
Earlier, several of its corporate tenants introduced themselves to the audience edifying us on The Campus’s state-of-mixed-inclinations. It was a smart opening to a unique evening.
Presiding were the town’s newly minted Mayor, Nancy Peckford; CAO, Brian Carre, and, Project Director, Pat Remillard. Peckford is the Chair of the small board of three; this will surely expedite progress.
Affection for “the campus,” was palpable. The alumni and nostalgics present went to great lengths to speak of its heritage and their emotional connections to this place.
It is a unique estate indeed, “as old as Oxford,” one local said at the mic.
Kemptville Campus and Ferguson Forest anchor Kemptville, east and west respectively. These two valuable destinations add reason to stay and play in this historic, beautiful town populated with people who are self-reportedly, “unvarnished.” There is no veneer here.
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