Campus News

Published by Communications and Public Affairs (519) 824-4120, Ext. 56982 or 53338

News Release

June 13, 2000

Board of Governors approves sale of Cruickston to local family

The University of Guelph Board of Governors today approved the sale of the Cruickston property near Cambridge to Jan Chaplin and Mark Fretwurst, owners of the historical manor house and 53 acres of the estate property.

"We are delighted with this outcome because it respects the gift of the Matthew Wilks Keefer family, which was intended to promote agricultural teaching and research and environmental stewardship," said board chair Simon Cooper. "It is a win-win situation for all concerned. The offer also allows the University continued access to the property for teaching and research, while enabling us to fulfil our fiduciary responsibility to the University community and the board."

President Mordechai Rozanski added that the Chaplin/Fretwurst offer on the 913 acres includes a sense of vision and stewardship that the University shares and that honours the intentions of the original Keefer gift. "The University has obtained a fair price for the property, one that allows us to reinvest in the quality of research and teaching through an endowment in the Keefer name. In particular, the income from the Keefer endowment will be used to advance teaching and research in agri-food, an investment that is critical to attracting and supporting students and faculty across the University at both the undergraduate and graduate levels."

Rozanski also said he is "absolutely thrilled" that Cruickston will remain in the hands of local residents who have a demonstrated record of environmental stewardship and a well-articulated vision for the unique educational, cultural and recreational qualities of the property.

The Chaplin/Fretwurst vision for the Cruickston property includes:

-- forest and bluff areas to remain untouched as a means of preserving unique mature woods and lichen

-- flood plain will be rehabilitated to a mix of wetland and dry land to allow more area for fish to spawn and waterfowl to nest

-- reintroduction of native flora and fauna

-- recovery and display of archeological remains

-- extension of trail system from Blair to Cambridge

-- a commitment to no residential or golf development and no on-site commercial aggregate processing.

The Chaplin/Fretwurst proposal envisions that a variety of educational and conservation programs will be housed in existing buildings on the property. University faculty and students will have access to the property for teaching and research, and at the University's request, a portion of the property will be named in honour of the original donor.

"The University has had a long-standing and successful relationship with Jan and Mark, and we look forward to our continued friendship," Rozanski said. "Jan Chaplin and Mark Fretwurst have already demonstrated their commitment to conservation and preservation as they proceed with the loving restoration of the manor house at Cruickston. I am also delighted that the Chaplin/Fretwurst offer will maintain and enhance the property as a centrepiece of the community in Blair and Cambridge."

Rozanski added that he would like to thank each of the parties who submitted a bid on the property.

Contacts: Nancy Sullivan Simon Cooper Vice-president (finance and administration) Chair, Board of Governors (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3841 (416) 213-8688, Ext. 321

For media questions, contact Communications and Public Affairs, (519) 824-4120, Ext. 3338

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