Short Story

We are fighting to save prime agricultural land and the existing heritage farm buildings of the former Kemptville Agricultural College from being paved over to build a provincial jail. We’ve won some battles along the way, and we’ve now applied for a Judicial Review of the province’s decision in the Ontario Superior Court.

If we win, it will help other Ontario groups who are fighting to protect farmland, greenspaces, species at risk, and natural features such as creeks and watersheds. The Judicial Review will also help groups working on community-based alternatives to incarceration.

Together, we can win this campaign to save Kemptville farmland!

Please donate today!

Kemptville, Ontario, Canada

Save the Kemptville Farmland!

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Story

Longer story

The Coalition Against the Proposed Prison (CAPP) is a grassroots organisation engaged in a David and Goliath battle with the province to save prime agricultural land and existing heritage farm buildings of the former Kemptville Agricultural College from being paved over to build a provincial jail. It’s been a three-year fight to date, and we’ve won some battles: for example, we’ve been able to push back the timelines of the prison project and foiled an attempt by the then Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing – and our own MPP – Steve Clark to use Elections Ontario to silence us during the last provincial election. We’ve also convinced the municipality to not publicly support the prison project. Our biggest victory has been to have the courts reject the province’s initial attempt to have our current Judicial Review application summarily dismissed.

The Judicial Review application challenges the provincial government’s decision to pave over prime agricultural land. The grounds for our application are that the province failed to abide by its own Provincial Policy Statements that protect agricultural land, and did not follow the Planning Act when they failed to consult the municipality and have regard for the municipality’s Official Plan before making its decision, as required by the Act.

Our case is strong. When the province’s first reaction to our Judicial Review application was to try to get it summarily dismissed, Justice Robert Smith of the Ontario Divisional Court rejected their motion to dismiss, noting among other things that our grounds for the review were good ones. Then when the province’s second attempt to dismiss the case under the Ontario government’s new rules for judicial reviews, the panel of judges that ruled on the matter also noted that we have a good case for a judicial review. And if nothing else, the province’s determined if not desperate efforts to avoid the review show that it also knows we have a good case.

This is a costly process, but if we win, it will stop the prison project and save the farmland. It will also set a very important precedent that will be helpful to all the other Ontario groups fighting to protect farmland, green spaces, species-at-risk and watersheds across the province from undemocratic and unnecessary decisions that favour development over the protection of agricultural lands.

Even if the province succeeds in not having the Judicial Review heard in court, there are other strategies we can pursue to save the farmland.

  • We can force the municipality to seek an amendment to the OP to accommodate a prison inside the town of Kemptville, which would be a public process for North Grenville residents to oppose.
  • We can also raise awareness about the many species at risk that live on the proposed site.
  • To build a prison on the farmland, the province would also have to divert a tributary of Barnes Creek, a Rideau River watershed creek, that cuts across the farmland site. This can be fought with a strong public awareness campaign.

So while the judicial review would stop the prison project in its tracks and save the farmland, these other strategies related to the prison project can be pursued with your help.

Together we can win the campaign to Save the Kemptville Farmland by stopping a prison project that no one asked for and experts tell us is unnecessary. We will prevent the destruction of existing farm buildings and protect plant and animal species at risk on the property. We can turn towards community-based alternatives to achieve community safety, community care and community-based alternatives to criminalization and incarceration. We will set a precedent that will help other groups across Ontario working to preserve and protect our farmlands and green spaces. It will be a great victory.

Please donate today!

Together we can stop the province from destroying farmland in Kemptville! Please donate today!

In partnership with The Coalition Against the Proposed Prison (CAPP).

  • Latest News

    On February 8th of this year, the Ontario Superior Court was scheduled to hear our Judicial Review, but the online hearing was “Zoom-bombed” resulting in a two-and-a-half-hour delay. Because of this delay, the panel of judges only heard the first part - a motion by the province to just dismiss the case. The panel adjourned the hearing to February 16th, but then went ahead and ruled on February 14th in favour of the province’s motion to dismiss the case.

    We’re now appealing that panel’s decision for both legal and factual errors. The first step is to get the Ontario Court of Appeal’s permission to proceed with the appeal. That’s where we are now.

    To date, the province has fought long and hard to avoid the judicial review of its decision to destroy the Kemptville farmland - because our case is strong. Even the judges who supported the province’s motion to dismiss the application based on the Ontario government’s new rules for judicial reviews noted that we have a strong case. The goal therefore is to get our case heard.

    That’s why this Small Change Fund campaign is so important. If we can just get to the finish line, we can win! Of course lawyers and courts cost money. Your donation will help pay for the legal costs of the Judicial Review. And if we don’t succeed with the appeal, there is still much that we can do.

    For example, because the farmland is designated as prime agricultural land:

    • The municipality’s Official Plan (OP) protects the land from any uses other than agricultural or educational. We can force the municipality to go through an open, public process if they are going to allow other uses. We can raise awareness about the Rideau Valley Conservation Authority’s recent report on the property that indicates over 30 species at risk on this site.
    • To build a prison on the farmland, the province must divert a Rideau River watershed creek that flows on the site. This too can be fought through a public awareness campaign.
    • With our current partners we can strengthen our advocacy and activities to push for better ways to achieve community safety, community care, and community-based alternatives to criminalization and incarceration.
    While the judicial review would stop the prison project in its tracks and save the farmland, these other issues are still there to pursue with your help. Together we can do all these things and win the campaign to Save the Kemptville Farmland!

    Please donate today!

Name Donation Date
Colin Creasey $33 May 18, 2024 12:38 pm
HELIN BURKAY $20 May 18, 2024 1:10 am
Kelly Crichton $105 May 7, 2024 6:02 pm
Anonymous $4 May 5, 2024 10:19 pm
Jess Menard $40 May 4, 2024 11:14 pm
Fiona Weber $40 May 2, 2024 7:32 pm
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Colin Creasey $45 April 20, 2024 4:26 pm
Barbara Kelly $100 March 29, 2024 3:15 pm
Sonia Krupey $60 February 29, 2024 6:58 pm
Ralph Raina $100 December 23, 2023 4:46 pm
Anonymous $45 December 23, 2023 3:06 pm
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Anonymous $45 November 28, 2023 11:34 pm
Colin Creasey $42 November 28, 2023 9:21 pm
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Len Habinski $52 November 28, 2023 8:19 pm
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