CORNWALL – On Tuesday, the Ontario Government announced $2 million in funding for Kemptville College in order to prevent its closure. “I welcome this first step, but the proposed arrangement makes the development of a sustainable long term plan very difficult and will damage Kemptville’s ability to deliver agricultural education in our region” – MPP Jim McDonell commented. “Under the terms of this funding, the Agriculture diploma programs are not continuing, and important assets such as animals and the associated quotas are being moved to Guelph. Not only is this a waste of the new community funded barns on the site, but it also negatively impacts Kemptville’s inventory of teaching tools and experience.”
Trades programs will continue to be taught and to take on students during this transition year.
“Kemptville isn’t just a teaching institution – it has a long tradition of agricultural education” – MPP Jim McDonell stated. “Taking away agricultural enrolment and valuable livestock shows the Government’s basic lack of understanding of the needs of the local farming community. The laboratory and research facilities are key to the success of Eastern Ontario’s number one industry.”
Following the surprise announcement of the closure of Kemptville College on March 12th, a Province-wide advocacy effort by alumni, farmers, local residents and PC MPPs helped bring the Government’s attention to the need for local education facilities specialized in agriculture. Local colleges such as Algonquin and St Lawrence College expressed an interest in taking over Kemptville College, and the 1-year reprieve from the closure should facilitate an orderly transition, but without the agricultural component, any plan becomes much more difficult.
“The sooner we are able to remove Kemptville College’s future from this Government’s control and place it in the hands of local education institutions, the better” – MPP Jim McDonell concluded. “A Minister of Agriculture who saves an agriculture campus by removing the agriculture diploma and livestock just says it all. Eastern Ontario will not allow a Government that has mismanaged the Province for a decade to bring down a century-old valuable, specialized educational institution. Our communities and businesses are committed to ensuring Kemptville College can withstand all challenges and continue its long tradition of education excellence.”
The Kemptville alumni association is organizing a rally at noon this Sunday, April 27, at the North Grenville Municipal Centre (285 County Rd 44, Kemptville). It’s a chance for our community to show support for the college and the important role it serves for our youth, our agricultural community and for Eastern Ontario.