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Ottawa, January 25, 2016 – As part of its bid for the Lebreton Flats redevelopment, the RendezVous LeBreton Group has developed a bold vision for sustainability, one that will see it become one of the largest sustainability-driven urban developments in North America.

RendezVous LeBreton, which is backed by the Ottawa Senators, has developed a sustainability plan based on the One Planet Living framework; the same aggressive standard being used by Windmill Development’s Zibi project located a stone’s throw away on Chaudière Island. Located between Zibi and the Ottawa Centre EcoDistrict, RVLG’s sustainability plan is poised to create one of the largest, and most sustainable, urban districts in North America, if not globally.

Guided by the One Planet Living framework, the Group has created a development plan that is based on ten principles, ensuring the project is sustainable socially, environmentally, and economically. With as much focus on people as the environment, RVLG aims to create a community where it is easy, attractive, and affordable for people to lead happy and healthy lives using a fair share of the earth’s resources.

“Many redevelopment projects tend to focus on environmental issues, such as reducing construction waste, but this team decided at the outset that to create a world-class development we needed a project that people would benefit from, and feel connected to,” said Steve Dulmage of BuildGreen Solutions, the sustainability advisors to the project.

RVLG acknowledges that achieving all principles within the One Planet Framework will be a challenge on a project of this size, particularly zero carbon, but as Dulmage points out: “The history of this site includes innovation and entrepreneurialism, so why shouldn’t we set ambitious targets that will require a similar mindset to achieve them?”

This attitude has already resulted in a number of novel ideas. The project team has identified a potential partner that could see the Event Centre become one of the first net-zero energy stadiums in the world; and a “purple pipe” system will be explored to reduce the amount of precious tap water used to flush toilets.

In addition to pursuing One Planet endorsement, the team’s sustainability plan also commits to meeting the NCC’s mandated goal of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) for New Construction for all new buildings. However, RVLG has gone a step further and has committed to meeting LEED’s community standard as well, LEED for Neighbourhood Development.

Initiatives demonstrating a commitment to social responsibility include planned affordable housing, vibrant gathering spaces for residents and visitors, recreational opportunities through the Sensplex and Abilities Centre, and programming that will help businesses and residents alike make healthier, and greener decisions. Of course, it all begins by decontaminating LeBreton Flats, and revitalizing a site that can be transformed from a brownfield into a community that adds value to the local economy, and enriches the city’s social and cultural fabric.

About Build Green Solutions

Build Green Solutions Inc. specializes in bringing the principles of sustainability – environmental, social, and economic – to bear on urban land development.

Since 1999, Build Green Solutions has worked on some of the most innovative projects in Canada: green buildings, sustainable infrastructure, and green community projects. By bringing a solutions-oriented and market-based approach, we have helped clients stretch for ambitious yet achievable sustainability goals by incorporating innovative strategies and technologies. These projects have included Windmill Development’s “Zibi”, “The Currents”, and “the Eddy” in Ottawa, “Aqua + Vento” in Calgary, and “Dockside Green” in Victoria.

About One Planet Living and One Planet Communities

One Planet Living is the vision of a world in which people enjoy happy, healthy lives within their fair share of the earth’s resources, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness.
The One Planet Living framework is based on ten easy-to-grasp principles covering areas such as carbon, waste, transport, food and water, and enables us to plan for, deliver and communicate sustainable development. The framework provides a clear, practical route map for a better way to live and do business.

Windmill Development’s Zibi project was recently named the world’s tenth One Planet Community.

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Ottawa, November 17, 2015

Windmill statement regarding Ontario Municipal Board’s decision to dismiss Zibi appeals

Windmill Development Group welcomes the Ontario Municipal Board’s clear and unequivocal decision to dismiss the appeals that were filed following the City of Ottawa’s approval to change the zoning to accommodate the Zibi project.

Windmill looks forward to proceeding with its plans to transform these contaminated and closed-off industrial lands into the world’s most sustainable community, and to making Zibi a place where the culture and history of the Algonquin Anishinabe is not only present, but celebrated.

“We’re greatly encouraged that the Ontario Municipal Board recognizes that the City and Windmill have ‘consulted and engaged with the public and the First Nations and that aboriginal history and culture will be respected and incorporated into the proposed development plans’”, stated Jeff Westeinde, Chair of Windmill Development Groups.

Windmill also looks forward to the opportunity to highlight the long history and industrial heritage of the site, and to providing public access to the islands’ waterfronts and the Chaudière Falls for the first time in almost 200 years.

“This decision clears the way for us to proceed with the great work of developing Canada’s first One Planet Community, a veritable sustainable showpiece, here in the heart of the National Capital Region,” said Rodney Wilts, Partner, Windmill Development. “We know the project is highly anticipated, and we look forward to delivering on our vision.

Windmill has conducted over the last few years the most inclusive and robust engagement program by a private developer with First Nations, certainly in Eastern Canada, and possibly in all of Canada, voluntarily surpassing any legal requirement to do so. As part of its award-winning engagement program, Windmill reached out to all of the Algonquin Anishinabe communities, the majority of whom had never been invited to participate, nor asked to participate, in consultations related to national capital regional planning matters.

Windmill is committed to developing Zibi in friendship with the Algonquin Anishinabe, and to making Zibi as beneficial as possible with and for the Algonquin nation and people.

To view the OMB’s full decision: Click here

For more information on Windmill’s engagement program with the Algonquin Anishinabe, see www.zibi-i-site.ca

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Eddy_Aug15-5Ottawa, Ontario – October 29, 2015. The City of Guelph, Enmax Corporation and Windmill Developments were announced as the 2015 winners of the QUEST Community Energy Builder Awards at the annual QUEST Gala Dinner & Awards Ceremony on October 27 in Toronto, Ontario.

The Community Energy Builder Awards are presented annually by QUEST to recognize leadership and innovation in advancing Smart Energy Communities in Canada. Awards are presented in three categories that reflect the key implementing sectors of Smart Energy Communities: Local Government, Real Estate Sector, and Utility and Energy Service Providers.

“Smart Energy Communities are now being recognized as one solution in meeting Canada’s federal, provincial and territorial energy and climate goals,” said Brent Gilmour, Executive Director of QUEST. “QUEST congratulates the 2015 award winners who represent some of the most progressive stakeholders leading the development of Smart Energy Communities in Canada.”

The Winner of the 2015 Community Energy Builder Award for “Local Government” is the City of Guelph, Ontario, for its emerging Guelph Energy Efficiency Retrofit Strategy (GEERS) as a major component of its Community Energy Initiative.

“This award is an honour. GEERS is a critical component of Guelph’s Community Energy Initiative (CEI). With final approval to implement by Council, GEERS will have a critical role is contributing to the targets of the CEI. Thank you QUEST for your valuable support,” said Robert Kerr, Manager of Community Energy at the City of Guelph.

The Winner of the 2015 Community Energy Builder Award for “Utility and Energy Service Providers” is ENMAX Corporation for its plans to integrate Combined Heat and Power (CHP) into its Calgary District Energy Centre.

“ENMAX is extremely excited and proud to have received the 2015 Community Energy Builders Award. The integration of Combined Heat and Power into the ENMAX District Energy Centre is consistent with our strategy of growing our generation and retail portfolios, will benefit Albertans through the reduction of Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions in the electricity generation process, and also demonstrates how powering Alberta’s communities can take many forms,” said Patrick Bohan, Director, District Energy and Combined Heat & Power.

The Winner of the 2015 Community Energy Builder Award for “Real Estate Sector” is Windmill Developments for the Eddy Condominium which offers six storeys of green, urban condos that set new standards for architecture, design and smart, healthy living in Ottawa, and which exceeds energy efficiency standards by 50% and incorporates a geo-exchange heating/cooling system.

“We are incredibly honoured to have received the QUEST award. We like to view The Eddy as a model for green intensification: energy efficient, low carbon footprint, appropriate for the community, stylish, fun and healthy,” said Rodney Wilts, Partner, Windmill Development Group Ltd. “Awards like QUEST’s help incentivize the development community to strive to do better, and recognize those projects that help raise the bar.”

About QUEST

QUEST is a non-profit organization that conducts research, engagement and advocacy to advance Smart Energy Communities in Canada. Smart Energy Communities improve energy efficiency, enhance reliability, cut costs, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. With the help of 8 provincial and regional Caucuses, QUEST brings together key stakeholders from government, utilities & energy providers, the real estate sector among others to transform Canada’s 5400 communities into Smart Energy Communities. Follow us: @QUESTCanada

For additional information

Tonja Leach
Director, Communications & National Affairs QUEST
Tel.: 613-627-2938 x706
E: tleach@questcanada.org

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DecontielogoFirst off-reserve project for First Nations company slated to work at Windmill’s Zibi

Kitigan Zibi, October 8, 2015 – Kitigan Zibi’s only general contracting company, Decontie Construction, has been awarded a $4.5 million contract by Hydro-Québec to dismantle the abandoned Corbeau Hydroelectric Station adjacent to the reserve, which is located near Maniwaki, Quebec.

The project, which is the company’s first off-reserve project, will create 20 new jobs for Algonquin Anishinabeg tradespeople.  Positions include carpenters, labourers, truck drivers, shovel operators and security personnel.

“Kitigan Zibi, like many reserves, has a very high unemployment rate,” said Andrew Decontie, President and founder of Decontie Construction. “We’re very proud to be able to bring new opportunities and work to our community.”

Because of existing systemic barriers, on-reserve Algonquins and other First Nations experience difficulties in obtaining trade certifications and securing work off-reserve despite having the necessary schooling and work experience.  Until now, Algonquin tradespeople from the community have been limited to working on construction projects within Kitigan Zibi.

Given the proximity of this project to the reserve, and the fact that the land on which the hydro station sits is in the process of being retroceded to the community of Kitigan Zibi, a special administrative zone was created by la Commission de la construction du Québec (CCQ) to enable Algonquin Anishinabe workers to be employed on this project.

“This is an unprecedented opportunity for our company to create real jobs outside the reserve,” said Andrew Decontie. “With this contract and work at the Zibi redevelopment project about to get underway, we’re building momentum for our People.  It’s a concrete example of self-determination in keeping with the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.”

The Corbeau demolition project is expected to begin immediately and to continue until the spring. Unique to this project, Decontie Construction is the lead contractor and will be engaging two non-First Nation companies – Milestone Environmental Contracting and DemoPLUS – to conduct specialty services such as the decontamination work and asbestos and lead removal.

The three companies will also work together on the Zibi redevelopment project about to start in Ottawa and Gatineau, which will follow the same model of recruiting, hiring, training and certifying an Algonquin workforce.  A similar special administrative zone that will be used at Corbeau is currently in discussion with the CCQ.

Ottawa-based Windmill Developments announced this summer it has partnered with Decontie Construction on the Zibi project. In addition to remediation and construction work on this 15-year, $1.2 billion project, Decontie will have the specific mandate of assisting interested Algonquin workers in obtaining the necessary training and certification to ensure they meet all of the required labour regulations and standards to be able to work off reserve.

“Together, we’re working on initiatives that will bring tangible and lasting benefits to present and future generations of Algonquin Anishinabe,” said Jeff Westeinde, Chairman of Windmill Developments and a director at Milestone Environmental Contracting.  “It’s more than the creation of jobs — which in itself is a big deal.  It’s about creating a sustainable model of employment and self-determination that other companies can emulate.  Industry needs a rethink.  We want to prove that it’s advantageous to collaborate with the Algonquin community. ”

About Decontie Construction Inc.

Decontie Construction Inc. is licensed as a General Contractor (Level 1.3) under the Régie du bâtiment du Québec, allowing the company to construct any type of development, residential or commercial, on or off-reserve.  Its founder Andrew Decontie, a First Nation Algonquin Anishinabe from Kitigan Zibi Anishinabeg, has worked in the construction sector for over 20 years.  His passion for the construction industry and the betterment of his People originates from a legacy of family and community members who were forced to leave Canada in the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s to find work throughout the United States.

 For more information or to request an interview:

Wanda Thusky
Algonquin Liaison Officer
decontieconstruction@hotmail.com
819-441-6243

Annie Boucher
613-863-3702
boucher@fusecommunications.ca
@aboucherfuse

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September 1, 2015 – Ottawa, Ontario, Canada – Windmill Developments and the Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE) have teamed up to conduct a feasibility and planning study for the demonstration, trial and deployment of fully automated, electric mini shuttle buses at Zibi.

Zibi is the highly anticipated re-development of the industrial lands linking Ottawa, Ontario and Gatineau, Quebec. It is being developed in a partnership between Windmill Developments and Dream Unlimited Corp. (TSX:DRM) and aims to become the world’s most sustainable community. This waterfront community will be inclusive of shopping, dining, recreation and entertainment in support of a vibrant and healthy social life.

The concept being studied for transportation at Zibi is the use of fully automated, electric mini shuttle buses to transport people both between locations at Zibi and between Zibi and transit stations in Ottawa and Gatineau.

Jonathan Westeinde, Chief Executive Officer of Windmill Developments, said: “We are very excited about exploring the options for automatic vehicles and shuttles on the Zibi site to help reduce car traffic and assist us in achieving our goal of being one of the most sustainable communities in the world”.

Barrie Kirk, Executive Director of CAVCOE, added: “We at CAVCOE are pleased and proud to manage this project in association with Windmill and Dream. If successful, this trial, the first of its kind in Canada, will give Canada and many Canadian stakeholders an opportunity to learn first-hand the details of deploying and operating automated vehicles.”

About Windmill

Windmill is a visionary company dedicated to transforming conventional development practices by ensuring that exemplary ecological, social and financial returns are achieved in all their projects. Every Windmill development is conceived, designed and constructed to protect and enhance the local community and our ecosystem. Windmill is the only developer in North America to have achieved LEED Platinum on all its mixed-use projects. Completed projects include The Currents, a performing arts centre and modern condominium tower in Ottawa’s Wellington West neighbourhood, and Dockside Green, a model sustainable community in Victoria that was named one of 16 Clinton Climate Initiative Climate Positive developments.

About Dream

Dream (TSX:DRM) is one of Canada’s leading real estate companies with approximately $15 billion of assets under management in North America and Europe. The scope of the business includes residential land development, housing and condominium development, asset management for three TSX-listed real estate investment trusts and one TSX-listed diversified, hard asset alternatives trust, investments in and management of Canadian renewable energy infrastructure and commercial property ownership.  Dream’s development projects include Toronto’s Distillery Historic District as well as the 2015 Pan Parapan American Athletes’ Village.  Dream has an established track record for being innovative and for its ability to source, structure and execute compelling investment opportunities.

About CAVCOE

The Canadian Automated Vehicles Centre of Excellence (CAVCOE) is dedicated to helping public and private sector stakeholders prepare for the arrival of automated vehicles.  CAVCOE’s clients include two major Canadian cities, and companies involved in transit, transportation equipment, fleet management, and technology. CAVCOE recently teamed with the Conference Board of Canada and the Van Horne Institute to prepare a report on Automated Vehicles: The Coming of the Next Disruptive Technology.  A free copy is available here.

For more information:

Jonathan Westeinde
Chief Executive Officer
Windmill Developments
613-820-5600 exn 158
JonathanW@windmilldevelopments.com

Barrie Kirk
Executive Director
CAVCOE
613-271-1657
bkirk@cavcoe.com

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Windmill Development Group and Build Green Solutions are looking for small entrepreneurs with a “green” focus who are interested in sharing workspace in our new studio at 401 Richmond Street West, in Toronto. We currently share the space with TABC, the Architects Builders Collaborative and have additional space available for 3 or 4 individuals whose practice is grounded in a sustainable, healthy approach to design, building, energy modeling, marketing, finance, or development.

Shared facilities include use of boardroom, kitchen, wi-fi, and a creative co-working environment that could lead to collaborations on future projects. The building at 401 Richmond is itself a creative hub of professional offices, social enterprises, artists, and non-profits with a café, daycare facility, and green roof terrace.

Cost is $525 per month for a dedicated desk space. Available July 2015.

If interested, please contact Alex Speigel at alex@windmilldevelopments.com

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London, May 21, 2015 – UK-based sustainability charity Bioregional has endorsed
Ottawa-Gatineau’s Zibi project as Canada’s first One Planet Community and the world’s
tenth.

One Planet Living PR Event May 2015

One Planet Living PR Event May 2015

One Planet Community status is the gold standard in sustainability ambition for
development projects, representing not just endorsement of green building standards
but an ongoing commitment to all aspects of sustainable development through the
lifetime of a project.

Zibi, which means ‘river’ in the Algonquin language, is a waterfront area located in the
downtown cores of Ottawa and Gatineau overlooking both the Ottawa River and
Chaudière Falls. The name of the development was chosen as a public commitment to
the Algonquin-Anishinabe people, on whose unceded land the Ottawa Valley, and parts
of Ontario and Quebec are situated.

Redeveloped from industrial brownfield land once dominated by a paper mill, the 37-acre
site will include a blend of commercial and retail properties, condominium developments,
a hotel, waterfront parks and open spaces and a network of pedestrian and cycling
paths.

Over three million square feet of development is planned. Zibi will provide a unique
opportunity for people to live, work, play and learn in one of the National Capital
Region’s most picturesque and historic areas.

Working with Bioregional, developers Windmill Development Group and Dream Unlimited Corp. have used the 10 principles of the One Planet Living framework to help guide sustainability and eco-friendly planning for Zibi. Its One Planet Community status is underpinned by a sustainability action plan based on these 10 principles.

Zibi’s plan highlights include:

  • A district-wide energy system, which aims to provide Zibi with zero carbon energy
    by 2020
  • A target for only 2% or less of the waste generated by the completed development to go to landfill
  • 90% reduction in transport greenhouse gas emissions compared to the regional average, thanks to prioritising walking, cycling and charging points for electric vehicles
  • Cutting water use by more than half compared to the regional average – waterusing appliances will be super-efficient and non-potable water will be used for irrigation of green spaces and toilet flushing
  • Radically increasing biodiversity (by 400%) above existing levels on the site
  • Housing opportunities for a diverse range of renters and buyers, and preferential allocation in some of the commercial space to local and socially responsible businesses
  • Working together with the Algonquin-Anishinabe community in ways that generate lasting and tangible benefits to present and future generations; creating a new model for how private developers engage with First Nations in Canada

A strong point of Windmill and Dream’s commitment with First Nations and to the One Planet Community framework is the creation by the Algonquin-Anishinabe of an Advisory Council on Integrity. The Committee is made up of individuals who believe in the importance of sustainability, and who wish to ensure the integrity and appropriateness of the Zibi development on issues of First Nations culture, heritage and socio-economics.

Pooran Desai OBE, Co-founder of Bioregional and International Director of its One Planet Communities Programme commented:

“If everyone on earth consumed natural resources at the same rate as the average Canadian we would need four planets to support us. One Planet Communities – like Zibi aims to be – are places where it is easy, attractive and affordable for people to lead happy and healthy lives within the environmental limits of the planet.

“We are thrilled to launch the Canadian flagship in the One Planet Communities network with such an ambitious and innovative project. Zibi sets a new standard for sustainable development in Canada. Windmill is showing leadership at the global level and we are delighted that Zibi is joining our network of the earth’s greenest neighbourhoods.”

Rodney Wilts, Partner of Windmill Development commented:

“This endorsement from Bioregional – and the required planning and monitoring that goes with it – brings us that much closer to our vision of creating one of the world’s most sustainable communities. We are not just focusing on the energy, water and resource saving performance of the buildings; we are equally concerned with encouraging and supporting sustainable behaviours from its residents, visitors and the businesses working out of it.”

Jason Lester, Senior Vice President of Urban Development at Dream commented:

“Becoming a One Planet Community is more than receiving a stamp of approval. It’s a long-term commitment to bring our ambitious plan to life and to continue to work diligently to build a better community through sustainability.”

Brenda Odjick, Chair of the Algonquin-Anishinabe Advisory Committee on Integrity commented:

“Windmill has extended a hand in friendship to the Algonquin-Anishinabe people. Never before has a private developer been as inclusive and collaborative in this part of Canada, and as consistent with the Algonquin-Anishinabe values attached to the environment and to community.”

Background and information:

Zibi’s One Planet Action Plan
About One Planet Living
Bioregional’s existing One Planet communities
Zibi i-site

-30-

About Bioregional

Bioregional, a registered charity and award winning social enterprise based in the UK, champions a better, more sustainable way to live. It works with partners to create better places for people to live, work and do business. Its ambition is simple. It wants its practical projects to inspire people to live happy, healthy lives within the natural limits of the planet, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness. It calls this One Planet Living. The charity has, since it was founded in 1994, established a number of associated enterprises to develop or continue the charitable mission and in which the charity sometimes retains an interest.

About Windmill

Windmill is a visionary company dedicated to transforming conventional development practices by ensuring that exemplary ecological, social and financial returns are achieved in all their projects. Every Windmill development is conceived, designed and constructed to protect and enhance the local community and our ecosystem. Windmill is the only developer in North America to have achieved LEED Platinum on all its mixed-use projects. Completed projects include The Currents, a performing arts centre and modern condominium tower in Ottawa’s Wellington West neighbourhood, and Dockside Green, a model sustainable community in Victoria that was named one of 16 Clinton Climate Initiative Climate Positive developments.

About Dream

Dream (TSX:DRM) is one of Canada’s leading real estate companies with approximately $14.7 billion of assets under management in North America and Europe. The scope of the business includes residential land development, housing and condominium development, asset management for three TSX-listed real estate investment trusts and one TSX-listed diversified, hard asset alternatives trust, investments in and management of Canadian renewable energy infrastructure and commercial property ownership. Dream’s development projects include Toronto’s Distillery Historic District as well as the 2015 Pan Parapan American Athletes’ Village. Dream has an established track record for being innovative and for its ability to source, structure and execute compelling investment opportunities.

About the Algonquin-Anishinabe Advisory Committee on Integrity

The Advisory Committee is non-political and will act as a recommendation body to Windmill Developments on issues of Algonquin-Anishinabe interests, notably to ensure the integrity and appropriateness of cultural, heritage and socio-economic aspects of the Zibi project. The Committee has been created by Algonquin-Anishinabe women and is designed to work in a culturally appropriate way, inspired by ancestral Algonquin-Anishinabe practices.

Posted in Blog, News, Press, Press Releases | Comments Off on Zibi, Ottawa becomes the world’s 10th One Planet Community
Q1. What does Windmill propose for this site?
Wedged between Chaudière Falls and Victoria Island, the old Domtar industrial lands presents an opportunity to restore a historically-rich, but currently contaminated and abandoned industrial space into a vibrant, bustling, eco-community.

Sadly, the site has been inaccessible to the public for approximately 200 years. Initial estimates of the costs to remediate and restore the land and the waterfront is in excess of $125 million.

Our vision is to transform this derelict and fenced off property into the world’s most sustainable community, providing public access to sections of the waterfront that have been closed off for generations. It will be a new way for the residents and tourists from all over the world to experience and appreciate the natural splendor of the Ottawa River and the Chaudière Falls, as well as the culture and heritage of Ottawa’s Founding Nations: The First Nations, the French, and the English.

These industrial lands are part of a larger area considered of cultural and historical importance to the Algonquin People and many others. As such, we are fully committed to engaging with the Algonquins, ensuring their culture, heritage, and presence are integral to the development.

Windmill is recognized for being one of the most collaborative and greenest developers in the world. We believe that urban development and nature don’t have to be mutually exclusive, nor should people and their activities be separate from nature. It’s one of the reasons we have targeted the creation of North America’s first mixed-use One Planet community, one of the strictest and most rigorous sustainability frameworks that will guide the decisions we make for the site.

We are the only developer in North America to have achieved LEED Platinum on all its mixed-use projects. Dockside Green, a model sustainable community we built in Victoria, BC, was selected by the Clinton Foundation’s Clinton Climate Initiative and the U.S. Green Building Council as one of 16 projects in the world (across 6 continents) that demonstrate cities can grow in ways that are positive for the environment.

Q2. Does Windmill recognize the significance of this site?
Yes, we are very much aware of how significant this site is for so many people, be it the residents of Ottawa and Gatineau, the Algonquin and First Nations community, and even for all Canadians. It is often referred to as the ‘cradle of Canadian civilization’ and historians have documented that the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau exist in large part because of the Falls and the surrounding area.

Windmill’s co-founders are both raised in Ottawa, and the site has significant meaning to them as well. It is one of the reasons we are fully committed to ensuring that this project reflects the historical and spiritual significance of the area — and in particular, that the heart and voice of the Algonquin People is integral to the development, through culture, heritage, and presence.

The opportunity exists to work with everyone interested in the site to bring it back to its full splendour; to restore and ‘naturalize’ what is now an abandoned and contaminated site; and to recreate a vibrant meeting place where everyone can have access to the Riverfront. We also recognize that the Chaudière Falls have a special significance for the Algonquins and we are working with our neighbours, the hydro operators that own the land directly adjacent to the Falls, to ensure these can once again be experienced and enjoyed by all.

Q3. What has Windmill done to engage with the community to date?
To date we have engaged broadly with hundreds of different groups and stakeholders, and met with thousands of community members — well beyond any legal duties imposed on a private developer. This has included environmental organizations, First Nations peoples, local business groups, the two Cities, the National Capital Commission, heritage advocates, local politicians, Ottawa River advocates, and interested members of the public.

We do this because we believe it is part of our civic responsibility as sustainable developers, and because we understand that meaningful engagement will lead to a better outcome for this site. Given the complexity of this particular site, we realize that we can’t do it alone.

We have also been proactively engaging with the local Algonquin community since August 2013 to get a better sense of their vision for the site, and to learn about Elder William Commanda’s broad vision for the Falls, Victoria Island, and the surrounding isles.

We look forward to a long-term engagement with the residents of Ottawa and Gatineau and the Algonquin community, as well as with everyone interested, as we work to develop the world’s most sustainable community that reflects tangibly the culture and heritage of Ottawa’s Founding Nations: The First Nations, the French, and the English.

Q4. Will you be doing further consultation for the public to contribute?
Yes, we consider public input to be essential to the realization of our projects, and the ideas and comments we receive have always led to better outcomes.

We look forward to a long-term engagement with the residents of Ottawa and Gatineau and the Algonquin community, as well as with everyone interested, as we work to develop the world’s most sustainable community.

Please register to receive project updates and invitations to future events here.

Q5. Doesn’t this land belong to the Algonquins?
Windmill will be developing on 37 acres of land, of which 35 acres are privately-owned land and two are perpetually leased from the Federal Government.

However, the land along the Ottawa River, all of Ottawa and much of Eastern Ontario and Western Quebec is unceded Algonquin territory — this means that it has never been given away, sold, traded, or transferred by the Algonquin Peoples. Spanning over 36,000 km2, this unceded territory encompasses all of Parliament Hill, most homes in the Ottawa Valley, as well as private and Crown lands. This means that all of the residences and business in Ottawa and Gatineau which are on privately owned land are also on unceded lands.

Yet despite the fact that the lands are unceded, homeowners and private developers don’t have a legal obligation to consult with our First Nations when it comes to privately-held lands.

As private developers, we absolutely recognize the area’s special significance for the First Nations, as an important site in the heart of Algonquin territory. We know we have a moral duty and personal interest to actively engage with the local Algonquin community, as it is necessary if we want to restore the integrity of this development and achieve its full potential. It is why Windmill has been actively engaging with the Algonquins since the project outset in mid-2013.

Given the long history of the mistreatment of First Nations with respect to its people, culture, and land, our efforts have been devoted to learning how to engage in a way that is meaningful and that will lead to mutual trust. We will continue to listen and dialogue with the Algonquins, ensuring that their culture, heritage, and presence is integral to the development.

We have tremendous respect for the late Grandfather William Commanda, an internationally respected and acclaimed elder from the local Algonquin community, and the vision he expressed for the area. We share common values in terms of our respect for land and water, and for bringing our cultures together in a new partnership.

While the Domtar property doesn’t include Victoria Island, which is owned by the National Capital Commission, nor the Falls (the lands adjacent to the Falls and the ring dam are owned and operated by Chaudière Hydro and Hydro Québec), we believe we can help be a catalyst for a First Nations cultural centre on Victoria Island and we look forward to our continued dialogue with the Algonquins and others on this front.

Q6. Is there a legal duty for private developers to engage with First Nations?
Unfortunately, many developers believe that they don’t need to engage with First Nations because the law doesn’t require it when it comes to private lands. As a result, the conventional engagement approach hasn’t often resulted in meaningful partnerships with our First Nations.

Windmill believes, however, that the conventional approach is short-sighted and non-inclusive, and that it won’t work for this site. It would only reinforce a long and sad history of injustices, and go against our vision to integrate aspects of the three Founding Nation’s culture and heritage into the development.

Rather, we believe it is part of our civic responsibility to listen to the Algonquin community and to engage in a meaningful dialogue, so that together we can envision a better outcome for this abandoned and contaminated site. We are committed to being inclusive and transparent and to trying to do something different.

We aspire to create a new partnership with the Algonquins that acts as a spark and a learning for how different cultures with conflicted pasts can come together and build a positive legacy that rises above and inspires.

Q7. How has Windmill engaged with the First Nations community to date?
Windmill has been actively engaging with the local Algonquin community since mid-2013 as we recognize these lands and the surrounding areas are of great significance to the Algonquins and First Nations.

Given the long history of the mistreatment of First Nations with respect to its people, culture, and land, our efforts have been devoted to learning how to engage in a way that is meaningful and that will lead to mutual trust.

To the best of our knowledge, we are the only private sector real estate developers that have voluntarily engaged with the Algonquin Nation, and we aspire to co-develop what will eventually be recognized as a new model of cooperation between private-sector developers in Canada and First Nations.

There is no clear path for how this is done. It will require us to do things differently and think differently about how we engage.

To date, we have been incredibly inspired to learn that we share many common values with our First Nations, such as a desire to repair and restore the land, a passion for the responsible stewardship of the Ottawa River, and a commitment to cultural consciousness-raising.

We know that our work is just beginning and that much more needs to be done. Success will see the best of all our cultures represented in a vibrant 21st century community that gives voice to the Algonquin people, restores the land, cleans the River, and gives public access to the waterfront and Chaudière Falls.

Specific areas of collaboration being discussed as part of a draft Memorandum of Understanding with the Algonquin leadership include:

  • Formal recognition that the site is located within traditional Algonquin Territory.
  • Selecting a name for the site that acknowledges the tremendous cultural and historical presence of the First Nations in the heart of the National Capital Region.
  • Working with Algonquin translators to ensure that major signage onsite is tri-lingual – that is, in Algonquin, French, and English (the languages of the three Founding Nations).
  • Coordinating our planning efforts with the two cities, the NCC and the local hydro operators to establish an Algonquin cultural district and presence in the area, encompassing the new Pimisi LRT station, LeBreton Flats, Victoria Island, Chaudière Falls, and the former Domtar lands.
  • Explorations of options to allow for First Nations investment in the proposed District Energy System to be built on site, targeted to be one of the most sustainable systems in the world.
  • The hiring of Canada’s leading arts consultancy to study how Algonquin arts and cultural spaces can be integrated within the redevelopment.
  • The development of youth mentorship and internship programs.
  • The promotion of a First Nations workforce in the construction and operations phases of the project.
  • Support for and encouragement of First Nations businesses and entrepreneurs located on site, including discussions with a non-profit aboriginal daycare provider.
Q8. Are the lands Windmill will be developing leased from the Federal Government?
Windmill is in the process of acquiring from Domtar Corporation approximately 37 acres of land located on Chaudière Island, Albert Island, and along the riverfront in Gatineau. The property does not include Victoria Island, which belongs to the NCC, nor any of the land on either side of the Chaudière Falls, which is managed by subsidiaries of Hydro Ottawa and Hydro Québec.

Although Domtar privately owns the vast majority of this 37-acre parcel, the site also includes random and non-adjoining ‘pockets’ of Crown land located on Chaudière Island which total less than two acres of land. These ‘pockets’ have been leased in perpetuity by the federal government to Domtar, and will be transferred to Windmill as part of the transaction.

Q9. What is your experience working and consulting with First Nations as a developer?
We are extremely proud of the fact that Windmill Developments was one of the first private developers in Western Canada to work directly and proactively with the First Nations on a project called Dockside Green in Victoria, BC. Not only did the partnership lead to a better outcome for the project, it afforded Windmill the opportunity to gain first-hand experience in how to engage meaningfully with Canada’s First Nations community.

The conventional consultation approach used by private developers hasn’t often resulted in better outcomes. In fact, many private developers believe that they don’t need to engage with First Nations because the law doesn’t require it when it comes to private lands.

We believe it is part of our civic responsibility to listen to and learn from our First Nations, so that together, we can envision a better relationship and a new partnership for sustainable and respectful development in Canada.

It’s not an easy path we have chosen—while profitable, the conventional approach used by developers would be much more lucrative. We strongly believe, however, that developers have a responsibility to be positive agents of change, and Windmill is committed to changing the current development paradigm.

Q10. What is your wish with respect to the First Nations involvement on this project?
First Nations peoples in Canada have a lot to offer and a lot to teach us. Through our engagements with First Nations peoples, we have been incredibly inspired to learn that we share many common values, such as a desire to repair and restore the land, a passion for the responsible stewardship of the Ottawa River, and a commitment to cultural consciousness-raising.

Windmill is committed to sustainable development: everything that we do is conceived, designed, and constructed to protect and enhance the local community and its ecosystems. We are doing this in a variety of ways, and our approach and commitment to meaningful engagement is one of them.

Success will see the best of all cultures represented in a vibrant 21st century eco-community that gives voice to the Algonquin people, restores the land, cleans the River, and gives public access to the waterfront and Chaudière Falls.

Q11. Why does working together with the Algonquins matter to you?
We know that Windmill and the Algonquin community share a deep commitment and respect for the land, the Falls, and the river.

Our principles are not at odds with the Algonquin aspirations for this site. Today, the site is highly contaminated, fenced-in, and derelict. It has been an industrial heartland for over two hundred years and closed-off to the public, and although industrial operations ceased in 2007, the land continues to negatively impact the Ottawa River.

The world-class eco-village we are proposing is about recognizing the culture and the significance of the site. Clearly, the Algonquin community have a say in this project and must be heard. They have long been stewards and spokespersons for this land and we believe that their involvement can only lead to something greater.

We aspire to create a new partnership with the Algonquins that acts as a spark and a learning for how different cultures with conflicted pasts can come together and build a positive legacy that rises above and inspires others to be open to this new partnership between First Nations and non-First Nations people.

Q12. Why does this site need development? Shouldn’t it be converted to park land?
Currently the site is a series of vacant buildings on contaminated land. Sadly, it has been closed off to the public for approximately 200 years. Initial estimates of the costs to remediate and restore the land and the waterfront is in excess of $125 million.

In its current state, the site is almost entirely asphalted and many of the remaining buildings are dilapidated and in very poor condition. It is nearly bereft of all trees and there is little vegetation, most of which are invasive plant species. The land is highly toxic, with contaminants still washing away into the River. The waterfront is mostly made up of industrial materials, such as concrete, timber, and metals used to extend the property’s boundaries into the water. There are no rainwater filtration facilities, meaning that all the salt, toxins, and other pollutants run off uninhibited into the River with every rainfall or snowmelt. There is no vegetation along the riverbanks to act as a natural filter to clean pollutants before their discharge as effluent into the water.

The federal government concluded a number of years ago, when it initially explored purchasing this land from Domtar, that a mixed-use community development would be necessary to help pay for the acquisition, remediation, and restoration costs. In addition, given that the vast majority of the waterfront for kilometers on both sides of the River adjacent to these lands is green space and parks, governments are not prepared to use public funds of the magnitude required to restore this site and convert it into parkland.

Privately-led development is therefore the only feasible solution for allocating the necessary $125 million required to clean up the past and set an example for future generations.

The opportunity before us is to influence how that development occurs—in a sustainable and environmental way that reflects our community’s aspirations for the site, and that adopts leading-edge standards that will serve as a model and catalyst to influence other local, national, and international developments.

Windmill is recognized as one of the greenest builders in the world. We are proposing to transform this derelict site into the world’s most sustainable community, providing public access to sections of the Ottawa River and the Falls that have been closed off for generations. Our plan is to re-naturalize the site, providing much more greenspace than currently exists. Riverbanks and ecological reserves will undergo succession planting with native species. Invasive species will be removed to restore the richness and habitat value of authentic riparian edges. As well, streets and courtyards will include native and native-adapted species to help beautify the site and bring back its original ecological splendour.

Q13. What is your intention for the Falls? Will you remove the hydro ring dam and restore the Falls to their natural state?
There are many in Ottawa and Gatineau who advocate the ‘freeing of the Falls,’ which would mean the removal of the hydro ring dam built in 1908 that controls the River’s flow as it enters the waterfall.

It’s important to note that the land that directly borders the Falls is not part of the Domtar property being sold to Windmill. Nor does Windmill have any control on the electric generating stations and the hydro ring dam as these belong to and are controlled by subsidiaries of Hydro Ottawa and Hydro Québec.

That said, we believe we can play a role in opening up access to the Falls. As it now stands, the Domtar property is closed off to the public, and therefore acts as a barrier to the Falls.

We have been working closely with the NCC, the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau, and the two Hydro companies to find solutions and new ways to enjoy and celebrate the Falls. The broader plan includes providing public access with a new pedestrian bridge near the War Museum that connects the Ottawa riverfront to Chaudière Island, and that links to a public path to a viewing area on the south side of the Falls.

Chaudière Hydro and the NCC are working closely with the Algonquin community to ensure that Algonquin cultural elements are built-in to the design plan, and to minimize any impact that the hydro generating stations might have on the American Eels (‘Pimisi,’ a sacred animal for the Algonquin people) that live in the Ottawa River.

Q14. Won’t development on the waterfront be harmful to the River?
The Ottawa River is a critical component of this project and we are extremely sensitive to protecting it and ensuring our development is a net benefit to the River. That’s why one of the first organizations we spoke with was the Ottawa Riverkeeper (‘Sentinelle Outaouais’).

We have also engaged with the Algonquin community and look forward to their input on how we can better protect the water and the natural wildlife.

This has been an industrial site for hundreds of years. And although industrial operations ceased in 2007, the land remains contaminated and negatively impacts the River. The site’s waterfront is mostly made up of industrial materials, such as concrete, metals, and lumber, used to extend the property’s boundaries into the water.

There are no rainwater filtration facilities on site, meaning that all the salt, toxins, and other pollutants run off uninhibited into the River with every rainfall or snowmelt. There is no vegetation along the riverbanks to act as a natural filter to clean pollutants before their discharge as effluent into the water.

Our project will improve the quality of the surrounding area and help restore it. Initial estimates of the costs to remediate and restore the land and the river is in excess of $125 million. Our first step will be to decontaminate the site to remove the hundreds of years of industrial contaminants present on the site. We will also re-naturalize the banks of the river using native species.

Q15. Will you be limiting access to the waterfront?
No. Our intention is to dramatically improve public access to the waterfront and the Falls, from both cities.

Development along the water will be responsible and sustainable. We envision giving the public access to the water in two ways: along a multi-use network of paths built on naturalized green space (for e.g., the continuation of the bike path along the river in Gatineau); and also in an urban fashion with patios and restaurants — this is currently a rare experience in the National Capital Region, which is surrounded by water.

We have already consulted with the Ottawa Riverkeeper and plan to continue to involve her in our planning process.

We also know that the Falls and the River are important to the Algonquin community. We have engaged with both the Hydro generators that own the land directly adjacent to the Falls and the Algonquins and we are working to ensure the Falls can once again be experienced and enjoyed by all.

Q16. What will you be doing to protect the heritage aspects of this site?
One of our eight development principles that will guide this project deals with heritage. We’re currently studying all the existing buildings to assess: potential heritage uses; their condition; and how much it would take to bring them back up to a usable state. We would like to celebrate as much heritage as we can.

We do know that it will be very expensive to bring these structures back to compliance with the building code, and given that, we are very open to ideas and partnerships with heritage groups or others that can help us bring these buildings back.

Q17. How will you deal with the interprovincial issues arising from the property?
This project will certainly be challenging. That said, we are very pleased and grateful for the support we have received already from Mayor Pedneaud-Jobin, Mayor Watson, members of both councils, and the National Capital Commission. We hope that this project can serve as a template for how all jurisdictions can work together on transformative projects in the National Capital Region.
Q18. What are the timeframes for this project?
The site is planned to be constructed in six phases over a ten to fifteen year period. Our first phase is planned for Gatineau, and will focus on cleaning the land, repurposing the salvageable heritage buildings, and constructing new mixed-use developments.

Each phase is expected to last approximately two to three years.

Q19. What does success look like in this regard?
Ideally this project will positively engage both settlers to Canada and First Nations peoples who care about the environment, sustainability, and how it manifests in the reality of today’s society. We believe that there is tremendous opportunity for the heart and voice of the Algonquin People to be integral to the development, through culture, heritage, and presence in one of the world’s leading eco-communities.

We also aspire to create a new partnership with the Algonquins that acts as a spark and a learning for how different cultures with conflicted pasts can come together and build a positive legacy that rises above and inspires others.

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