“Proposed provincial prison in Kemptville is illegal”


Notice of Application for Judicial Review Filed

Two residents of the small, rural town of Kemptville have filed a Notice of Application with the Divisional Court of Ontario for a Judicial Review of the Ontario government’s
proposed plan to pave over prime farmland and bulldoze existing farm buildings
located on the former Kemptville Agricultural College to build a provincial prison.
Victor Lachance, a member of the Coalition Against the Proposed Prison (CAPP),
and Kirk Albert, a member of the Jail Opposition Group (JOG), are doing so in the
interest of many residents, community organisations and agri-food groups who have
been frustrated by the province’s refusal to meaningfully consult with and provide
adequate information to North Grenville residents about their prison plan.

Stéphane Émard-Chabot of the law firm Sicotte Guilbault, acting on behalf of
Lachance and Albert, notes: “Through our legal research, our firm has determined
that when the provincial government announced in August 2020 that it planned to
build a correctional complex on farmland of the former Kemptville Agricultural College
they broke the law by not abiding by its own Provincial Policy Statement and the local
Official Plan, as it is obliged to do under the Planning Act”. He adds: “The Judicial
Review launched today by my clients is challenging the legality of the decision and is
seeking a Prohibition Order that will save the farmland and several farm buildings
located on the property by stopping the construction of the proposed prison”.

“Ontario is losing over 300 acres of farmland a day”, says Victor Lachance. “How can
the province justify its cavalier approach of destroying farmland and farm buildings for
a prison that nobody asked for and that experts argue we do not need?” He adds,
“Up to $499 million has been earmarked for a 30-year public-private-partnership to
design, build, finance and maintain the proposed prison. The contract for this P3 has
not been signed so these funds should be used to help farmers and their
communities, not to build cages for people who have been pushed to the margins of
our society and are seeking support and care instead of imprisonment”.

“For two years, residents of Kemptville have been requesting details about the
proposed prison from the province through correspondence and Freedom of
Information requests about its site selection and due diligence activities, including the
environmental assessment. The province has refused to share substantive
information about its process or its decision to pave over valuable farmland in
Kemptville for a prison”, says Albert. He adds, “From many perspectives, the province
has failed in its commitments to our local government and residents since
announcing its plan in August 2020 and we hope the North Grenville Municipal
Council will support this Judicial Review to save not only the land, but the Green and
Growing vision for Kemptville and North Grenville’s future, that they themselves
championed for the community”.

The Judicial Review applicants are calling on the Ontario government to look at the
grounds for the application and agree that they should not proceed with the proposed
prison. “It’s not too late to change course on their prison plan”, states Lachance. A
summary of why the applicants are arguing that the proposed provincial prison in
Kemptville is illegal follows in separate article. For more information about the
proposed provincial prison in Kemptville, please visit www.cappkemptville.ca.


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