The Coalition Against the Proposed Prison (CAPP) is pleased that Premier Ford recognizes the importance of protecting and conserving the Greenbelt in the Greater Toronto Area which equally applies to prime agricultural farmland and environmentally sensitive lands intended to be protected and conserved elsewhere in accordance with Provincial Policy Statements. One such example is the provincially-owned Kemptville Agriculture College farmlands where Premier Doug Ford, then Solicitor General and current Deputy Premier Sylvia Jones, and former Minister of Housing and Municipal Affairs and local MPP Steve Clark proposed to build a provincial prison in an August 2020 announcement.
In a flawed process not dissimilar from the Greenbelt fiasco, the Premier and his ministers set the wheels in motion for the Kemptville prison plan despite internal government records obtained through a Freedom of Information request noting that the property failed to fully meet several of the government’s own selection criteria. The plan was then announced without any consultation with the Municipality or the residents of North Grenville. We are therefore equally pleased that Premier Ford recognizes the importance of having in place processes for development that do not move too fast, as well as taking the time to consult and take into account a municipality’s Official Plan. We completely agree that doing otherwise causes people to question the Province’s political motives and erodes the electorate’s trust. Earning the public’s trust is as important in North Grenville as it is in the Greater Toronto Area. In addition, we ask Premier Ford to continue to demonstrate leadership by putting a moratorium on the proposed Eastern Ontario Correctional Complex, and thereby save the former Kemptville Agricultural College farmland which is located on unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin Anishinaabe Territory and which includes an existing Rideau River watershed creek, floodplain, and wildlife that the government’s own studies show could be harmed by paving over the property and destroying existing farm buildings to build a prison that criminological experts tell us is not needed to achieve community safety.
To learn more, visit www.cappkemptville.ca.