Ottawa Construction News staff writer
Windmill Developments has started selling condos in the first phase of its Zibi development project on the former Domtar lands – as it reports collaborative agreements with the Algonquin-Antishinabe community to create job opportunities for aboriginal people and ensure their input into the development.
The Zibi website site announced the grand opening scheduled for May 30 as OCN goes to press, saying Windmill encourages visitors to “join in the fun as we celebrate over five years of planning to make Canada’s first One Planet Community development in Ottawa Gatineau.”
Earlier in May, Windmill’s Jeff Westeinde and Pikwakanagan (near Golden Lake) chief Kirby Whiteduck signed a letter of intent to ensure that Algonquin tradespeople work on the $1 billion development, while aboriginal small business opportunities and economic development partnerships and youth mentorships are introduced.
Published reports say the company wishes to sign letters of intent with other Algonquin communities, including in Kitigan Zibi, near Maniwaki, as well as with other groups representing the Algonquin nation.
“Windmill has extended a hand in friendship to the Algonquin-Anishinabe people,” Brenda Odjick, who chairs the Algonquin-Anishinabe advisory committee, has been quoted as saying. “Never before has a private developer been as inclusive and collaborative in this part of Canada, and as consistent with the Algonquin values attached to the environment and to the community.
The site will include tri-lingual signs — in English, French and Algonquin — plus art, landscaping and culture that represent the Algonquin nation.
Meanwhile, Windmill has announced Zibi has been named a “One Planet Community”, one of only 10 in the world, incorporating environmental, social and economic sustainability.
Pooran Desai, international director of the One Planet Communities Program with the charity Bioregional, has been quoted as saying he hopes Zibi will become a flagship for the concept and encourage others to create similar initiatives in their communities.
Zibi willbe a zero carbon community with easily accessible care and bike-sharing services, and “a whole series of things to improve the quality of life,” said Westeinde.
Early possible tenants include Ottawa caterer Thyme and Again which, The Ottawa Citizen quoted Westeinde as saying, has signed a letter of intent to open a community kitchen on the site.