Kemptville Campus Update

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by Tom Graham, Communications, Kemptville Campus

As the grounds, trees and shrubs at Kemptville Campus start to come alive with beautiful shades of green, it’s time for an update as to what’s actually happening on the Campus.

Like the rest of North Grenville, most of the organizations, businesses and buildings on the Campus are entering week seven of lockdown due to the COVID-19 situation. School administrators and teachers are working remotely to ensure that students and parents have access to the tools for continuing education in a home setting. Other organizations on Campus are doing their best to offer their services by phone or online. Catered Affairs now offers a wonderful menu for ordering ahead (by phone or email) and curbside pick up. The Campus administration offices are closed to the public, but staff are reachable via phone and email on the Campus website. For the status of other organizations on Campus, please visit their websites.

The entire community was disappointed to learn recently of the necessary cancellation of Kemptville Live Music Festival, planned for this July on the Campus grounds. “North Grenville’s flagship entertainment event was expected to attract over 25,000 visitors to our community,” said Campus Board Chair and Mayor Nancy Peckford. “We fully understand that Kemptville Live organizers had no choice but to make this difficult decision and we look forward to a great lineup in 2021.”

Here’s an update on some other specific details around the Campus.

On Campus – Although most of the buildings are closed, spring maintenance continues around the Campus, with landscaping contractors sweeping the roads and walkways and cleaning up after winter. At this time, the Campus is a perfect place to stroll, hike or cycle, as long as physical distancing rules are followed. Besides the grounds and sidewalks surrounding the buildings, the Campus has a network of trails as part of North Grenville’s trail system.

“The trails on the Campus are open to the public,” said Board Member and Deputy Mayor Jim McManaman. “Many people don’t realize that they’re here and available, as long as people keep their distance from others.” Trailhead signs have been installed at several locations to guide hikers towards the different options. More information on Campus Trails can be found on the Campus website. www.kemptvillecampus.ca/about

Campus Master Plan – A consortium of consultant groups – Public Urbanism (Planning, Engagement, Economic Development), Projet Paysage (Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Graphic Design) and CIMA+ (Civil Engineering, Transportation Engineering, Energy Audits) led by Planner Paul Hicks, initiated Master Planning for the Campus in January of this year.

The Master Plan will be providing a conceptual blueprint for:
Lands – greenspace, woodlands, wetlands, and cropland
Network – traffic, parking, pedestrian walkways, and foot trails
Buildings – existing and new (optimal utilization, energy conservation, energy audit) Integrating three pillars – Education and Training, Health and Wellness, and Economic Development.

To date, the consultants have completed the literature review, stakeholder interviews, two public consultations, a meeting with the Campus Advisory Committee, Subject Matter Expert consultations and a building energy audit. With the initial draft now complete, plans are in progress to convene the Advisory Committee (remotely) to share initial findings, and solicit further input before the plan is provided to the Campus Not-for-Profit Board for their review on May 31.

Greenhouses are Now Closed – The Campus Greenhouses got off to a great start over the winter, with members of the public attending an open house in January and signing up for a variety of horticultural and educational programming. Visitors got to explore the three fully accessible and functional greenhouses that make up the AJ Logsdail Centre on Campus Drive. Due to the COVID-19 situation, the greenhouses are now closed to the public.

“Our original plan was to make the greenhouse available to the public and offer a variety of workshops,” said Claude Smith, Horticulturist and volunteer behind the initiative. “We got off to a good start, but hit a bit of a roadblock along the way! We were able to continue the garden workshops already started by offering them online. It went surprisingly well.” The plants grown by the participants have already gone to their new homes, and some of the vegetables will be donated to the Giving Garden.

The group hopes that by this fall they’ll be able to continue the open house days, winter rental space for houseplants, workshops and educational sessions. Until then, the greenhouses are closed for the summer.

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