For a copy of the Concept for the redevelopment of the Alfred Ontario college campus, please email Renée Gratton at cricmission2030@gmail.com 

LOCATION

The property is located directly on Ontario’s old highway 17, and in the heart of Alfred, Ontario. Alfred is a rural urban centre in the Township of Alfred-Plantagenet, comprising Alfred, Curran, Lefaivre, Pendleton, Plantagenet, Treadwell, and Wendover and collectively now counts a population of over 10,000. The township, which is north of the United Counties of Prescott-Russell (UCPR) has a population of more than 110,000.

The township’s primary industry is agriculture, although the  construction, and the tourist industries are rapidly growing, as are the towns along the highway and Ottawa River, with established transportation systems: One going in and out of Ottawa daily for public servants and other commuters, and a UCPR rural bus. Other factors have also been fueling a real estate boom and the emergence of IT (Intelligent Technology) along with other sectors. Further, given its privileged location, roughly 5 million individuals now reside within Alfred’s 100km radius, and more are settling since the rush to work from home has begun since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

East and West of Alfred

Hawkesbury is the nearest urban centre, 25km from the campus, with growing industrial and commercial parks. And for what can’t be found there, Alfred is near two rapidly growing metropolises with international airports: Ottawa – Canada’s Nation’s Capital, only 70km to the East, with the combined Ottawa-Gatineau population at nearly 1.4 million in 2020; and Montreal,  120km to the West, with its growing population of now more than 4.2 million

North of Alfred

The 10-minute drive to the north, takes one to the Ottawa River: “The Ottawa River is Canada’s eighth  largest river and the chief tributary of the St. Lawrence. Beginning in the Laurentian Mountains, it flows  west before turning southeast to form a portion of the border between Ontario and Quebec. It drains an  area twice the size of New Brunswick. As the traditional territory of the Algonquin people, a key route in  the fur trade and the site of a 19th-century timber boom, the Ottawa River has played an important role in  Canada’s history and economy. Its diverse ecosystems, which are currently the focus of several conservation  efforts, are home to rich plant and animal life. The river also sustains urban areas along its shores, the  largest being the Ottawa-Gatineau area.” (The Canadian Encyclopedia)

South of Alfred

The most important neighbor to the south of the Alfred ‘upper campus’ is FERCA (an education and research farm) currently focused on organic dairy and other bio systems. On its property lies a new state of the art dairy farm building for its herd, and the former building will soon be renovated. As well, the OREC (Ottawa Regional Energy Community) Alfred Project was the first project in Prescott-Russell near (roughly 2km the existing upper campus buildings) and inaugurated in 2017, immediately next to FERCA, which itself owns solar panel systems on one of its farm buildings. 

Then 81 km to the south, is the town of Cornwall, of the United Counties of Stormont, Dundas, and Glengarry,  southeaster Ontario. The growing manufacturing city, which is only 90 km southeast of the Nation’s Capital, and where the Cornwall Ontario Energy (CORE) plant was recently built with significant investment for  research in sustainability, lies on the north bank of the St-Lawrence River – another key freshwater body.  The Seaway International Bridge (connecting it with Rooseveltown, New York) and the Macdonald-Cartier  Freeway; and is the headquarters of the St. Lawrence Seaway (Canadian) Authority. As well, the complex  Cornwall Canada-US international border post, which straddles the Akwesasne Reserve, makes it an  important throughway for countless businesses of eastern Ontario. 

Access to major highways

  • Hwy 417 in Ontario: 24 min (29.6 km) via Prescott and Russell County Rd 15
  • Hwy 50 in Quebec: 38 min (51.7 km) via County Rd 17 and Autoroute 50 O

The Alfred campus is ideally located to address rural service delivery challenges such as affordable learning and living or aging  in place, but also to bring agricultural, architectural, research and other communities together -physically and virtually- to research and develop ‘agritectural’, biophelia, biomimicry, social architecture, and many other innovative approaches to solve complex effectively, efficiently, and productively, while generating solutions to growing regional social, cultural, economic, and environmental systems issues. And while these are of no interest to ARIO at the present or in the short term, once renovated, this infrastructure will be invaluable to accelerate much needed cross-industrial, commercial, institutional integration. Because as discovered with the MISSION 2030 change management initiative, without physical research and development living labs, selling the value of best net-zero or living systems policies, procedures and protocols will be ever-more challenging. Which means that using buildings for indoor, vertical, rooftop farming, etc., to address food insecurities will accelerate without adequate regional guidelines and standards. In other words without an adequate protection for people/community health and well-being.

Image source: https://www.agritecture.com/blog/2018/9/17/greenbelly-turning-city-walls-into-vertical-farms

Moreover, while the Alfred and Kemptville Crown Real Estates have become undesirable properties for ARIO, and evidently for any other public institution to date, there is no doubt that with creative leadership this is a critical infrastructure for the rural communities of Eastern Ontario, Western Quebec and even Northern New York. There, and functioning under a cooperative model, people would be able to become less dependent on governments, while relying increasingly more on each other to continuously learn and live in well-built environments, in good and bad times. 

Finally, the Alfred Campus location presents immense untapped opportunities for businesses research and development support, through best asset/liability management practices, as well as resource optimization and waste elimination (resource productivity) to raise corporate, community, social and sustainability responsibility bars.