Moves necessary to file for letters patent
The County has taken another step forward in the process to create a non-share capital corporation for the purpose of distributing funds to assist young and new farmers.
The new corporation’s name will be “The County Cultivation Corporation” and council approved its creation for three purposes; to promote the establishment, growth and development of farms and businesses in the county, to provide financial assistance to local farmers, entrepreneurs, and businesses, and to deliver grants in support of community improvement initiatives, sustainability challenges and built heritage in the municipality.
For the purposes of getting the corporation established, the number of directors will be fixed at four with Mayor Robert Quaiff and councillors Steve Ferguson, Steve Graham, and Bill Roberts named as the corporation’s first directors.
Chief administrative officer James Hepburn explained approval of the name, purpose of the corporation, and initial directors will allow the municipal solicitor Templeman LLP to apply for letters patent to establish the new not-for-profit corporation.
He said staff came up with the name The County Cultivation Corporation and cultivation could apply to both farming and cultivating local businesses.
“We had a few other names that we looked at, unfortunately when we went through our search process, we weren’t able to get them,” said Hepburn. “We have had this name searched and our lawyers feel this is one that is available.”
He said the purposes of the corporation are intentionally broad. While the corporation is being established specifically to disburse farm grants, he said it could be used for other purposes down the road. Putting these parameters in place now means the municipality won’t have to go through a process to alter the corporation’s purpose in the future.
“They provide for grants to farms and businesses, financial assistance to farms, entrepreneurs and businesses,” said Hepburn. “We’ve also added a section where we can use the corporation at a future date for community improvement initiatives, sustainability challenges and built heritage in Prince Edward County.”
Bylaws governing the corporation’s actions will be established at a later date.
“We’ll have bylaws after we get our letters patent which would provide more substance as to what the corporation (will do),” Hepburn said.
Hepburn said any future uses for the corporation would be decided on by council and the number of directors could also be increased at council’s discretion.
“Council will have the ultimate authority as to what this corporation is tasked with doing,” he said.
The creation of the corporation was necessary in order to have a vehicle to distribute grants to young and new farmers, Hepburn said. Otherwise, the municipality could potentially be in conflict with the Municipal Act.
“This is a vehicle we need to have to distribute grants to young and new farmers or else we’re going to run, potentially, afoul of the Municipal Act whereby we could be in a situation where what we’re doing could be considered bonusing,” he said.
While the majority of councillors supported the move, there were a couple who spoke in opposition.
Councillor David Harrison said he wouldn’t support the motion because council has strayed too far from the initial ask of farmers.
“It’s too much pain for too little game in terms of administrative work and everything else,” he said. “There are already numerous programs at different levels of government in place and I think we’re getting into something that’s going to be a burden on staff or we’ll have to have more staff and we don’t have any money.”
Councillor Roy Pennell also felt it was the wrong approach.
“I just think it’s been expanded to the point that it’s ridiculous,” he said.
The farming assistance ad hoc committee continues to meet to outline the actual grant process that will be employed to distribute grants as well as a recommended dollar amount to put toward the program.