The fact that the former lot of Kemptville Public School is going to be the site of a housing development is certainly not recent news, but the facts surrounding the project are ever changing. It was originally announced in early 2020 that the former KPS site had been purchased by The Samure Group, with plans for a residential development of approximately 20 units. The building had been for sale since 2018, so news of the purchase was welcome.
In 2021, the property changed hands to Ottawa Valley Developments, and the old building was demolished in June of that year. The zoning of the property as a school remained, but pending changes, the residential development was expected to happen as originally planned. Fast forward to last month, when a notice of a public meeting released by the Municipality revealed that the plans for the site now involved a residential development of three separate buildings, in total comprising of approximately 168 units.
There now seems to be an uncomfortable buzz around the community – from many whose homes neighbour the site – in strong opposition to such a large development. “Not many people seem to know about it,” an anonymous resident told the Times. “We’ve been trying to get information on it all summer and Council kept saying they didn’t have any information on it.”
The resident explained that the biggest concern of those opposed to the project is the immense size of it, at 168 units. “That’s potentially 300 people moving into the area,” she explained. “It’s right next to the soccer field and the ball field and the playground for the kids.” The resident also expressed concern that the plans for the building do not suggest that it will be aesthetically pleasing. “They look like they’re army barracks,” she added. “There’s already lots of low income apartments going up. We have no public transportation… there are really not enough employments opportunities for 168 units. We’re not opposed to development, we just think that 168 is too many.”
The resident expressed further concerns about Bill 23 (the More Homes Built Faster Act), which limits municipal powers and the powers of concerned citizens to challenge new housing developments. The public meeting to discuss the new development took place on the evening of December 14, past the deadline for its outcome to be included in the current issue of the Times. Readers will be updated as new information becomes available.