by Michael Jiggins, Executive Assistant to Steve Clark, MPP, Leeds-Grenville – written April 22, 2014
(KEMPTVILLE) – An essential first step, but there is much more work to do.
Leeds-Grenville MPP Steve Clark used those words in responding to today’s announcement that the provincial government is providing $2 million to ensure an intake of students at Kemptville College this fall for the 2014-15 academic year.
“Since the closure was announced on March 12, my message to the Premier and the Minister of Training, Colleges and Universities was that we needed that new group of students coming in this September – we couldn’t allow the lights to go out,” said Clark, who thanked Minister Duguid for working with him and the community to make that happen.
“Today’s announcement doesn’t provide everything we asked for, but it’s an essential first step. It gives our community and the Kemptville College Renewal Task Force more time to bring those partners to the table who can develop a full range of programs to meet the needs of Eastern Ontario’s agri-food sector and farm families.”
Clark’s primary disappointment is there won’t be an intake of new students in any of the agricultural degree or diploma programs.
“There is a 97-year tradition of excellence in agricultural education at Kemptville College. My focus remains on ensuring those degree and diploma programs continue to be the cornerstone of the course offerings provided here in the future,” said Clark.
“We’ve heard loud and clear from the agri-food industry about how critical those programs are to helping our region compete in a sector that’s worth more than $1.5 billion to the economy in Eastern Ontario alone. To me, this is about access to education. In a province as large and diverse as Ontario, we need to provide those educational opportunities in agriculture closer to where people live.”
The other critical item missing from today’s announcement, noted Clark, was the appointment of a provincial facilitator to work with the Task Force in developing the long-term plan for the college.
“We need that person appointed immediately because there’s a lot of work that needs to get done in a very short period of time,” said Clark.