Municipality refute allegations about College sale

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Last week, the NG Times carried a report of an article in the most recent issue of The Farmers Forum paper which raised the possibility that the Municipality of North Grenville might be considering selling parcels of land on the Kemptville College campus. The article claimed that the full, and hitherto unpublished, version of the BDO consultant’s report on the future of the College had stated that 400 acres of the lands on the campus were considered “surplus”. The article went on to say that: “With access to sewer, water, hydro, gas and paved roads, the lands would be ripe for selling to developers for housing subdivisions if a non-profit entity is formed to take control of the college”. The very title of the article made the suggestion quite clear: “Municipality to lease Kemptville College buildings; could sell half the land for new housing”.

The NG Times asked for a response to these statements in the Forum, and both Mayor David Gordon and CAO Brian Carré were very clear in their comments. According to Brian, the article is “inaccurate, completely false. Based on my involvement with the file, that is utter nonsense”. I put it to Brian that the BDO Report does say that the sale of some parts of the College might be necessary to fund the planned development of the campus, his reply was unambiguous:

“For two years now, this Municipality has been abundantly clear: and the questions keep coming back and coming back. Unless Council changes its direction, we will not be carving any land off the property. Now, you never say never, but the position stands. We are not interested in severing any land. How clear can we be?”

When informed that the Forum was claiming to have a complete copy of the BDO Report, he said that he didn’t know where the Forum could have found the full report. “If [the Forum] does have a full copy of that report, I would like to know where they got it”. He stated that the full Report will be published, “but not for the foreseeable future”.

Farmers Forum articles on the College usually quote Ron Burgess, President of the College’s Alumni Association, and Brian Carré noted that both Mr. Burgess and the Alumni have been repeatedly invited to become stakeholders in the College renewal process, but they have refused, in spite of encouragement from the provincial government to do join in. Ron Burgess, according to Brian, has a very negative view of both the plans for the College and the Municipality of North Grenville, and his comments were not conducive to a positive future for the College.

Mayor Gordon was even more upset by the allegations in the Forum article. “This municipal government has stepped up, maybe the only municipal government that has stepped up on a large file like this. And it is so annoying that all these naysayers carry on like this. That is very sad and can be very harmful to ongoing discussions”.

The Municipality has approached the Farmers Forum for an explanation of the allegations contained in the article, and we understand that the Forum has agreed to publish an interview on the subject with Brian Carré in their next issue.

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