Mayor Peckford, members of Council, and other local officials met at the North Grenville Public Library on Friday to unveil plans for a new affordable housing project in Kemptville. The plans will see the old Kemptville Courthouse – which had been previously designated as a heritage building and was being used by the Historical Society – converted into 10 affordable housing units. This will include six bachelor apartments, three one-bedroom apartments, and one two-bedroom apartment. Two of the units will be accessible, and will have accessible entrances.
The design of the apartments will be conscious of environmental and sustainability factors, and will therefore incorporate high efficiency and on-demand products. As a result of the re-purposing of the building, the Historical Society has been moved into an alternative space. The former courthouse has a rich history, having also served as a firehall, as well as the municipal town hall for decades, prior to the building of the North Grenville Municipal Centre approximately 20 years ago.
At the Library meeting, Mayor Peckford told the crowd that housing concerns have been raised with her repeatedly by residents since she was first elected. She spoke of the resulting Municipal Task Force on Affordable Housing which produced its final report in 2020, the results of which the Mayor described as “very eye opening”.
Others spoke at the meeting to celebrate the addition of local housing, which is significant, given the difficulty in finding available and affordable housing faced by many in recent years. Corinna Smith-Gatcke, who is the Mayor of the Township of Leeds and the Thousand Islands, and the Chair of the Joint Services Committee, gave light-hearted credit to Mayor Peckford at the meeting for her dedication to getting things done.
“I don’t think I have to tell you this, but when it comes to bulldogging an issue, you don’t have a better Mayor around,” Mayor Smith-Gatcke said, referring to Mayor Peckford. “When it comes to things that Nancy is passionate about, she definitely goes for the gusto.”
Local MPP, Steve Clark, who is also the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, was also in attendance and spoke at the meeting. He discussed the nature of the provincial funding that has been contributed as part of the project, and emphasized the continuing need for the province to work with municipalities to address the current housing crisis. Leeds-Grenville Warden, Roger Haley, also addressed the crowd and gave many thanks to those involved in the project. Mayor Peckford agreed, saying “the big learning in politics and in life is that you can’t do anything without a team.”
The proposed design of the housing units was revealed at the Friday meeting. The Kemptville Court House Apartments are expected to be completed in late 2022 or early 2023.