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People check out some of the concept images of the Baker District during a public meeting on Thursday afternoon. - Graeme McNaughton/Metroland

People check out some of the concept images of the Baker District during a public meeting on Thursday afternoon. – Graeme McNaughton/Metroland

It was standing room only at the first of two public meetings Thursday on plans to revitalize part of the downtown core.

Once it is complete, the Baker District will be home to the new main branch of the library, along with hundreds of new residential units, a yet-to-be determined institutional partner and more.

But first, the City of Guelph — along with its partners in the project, Windmill Development Group and consultant Invizij Architects — wanted to lay out how far things have come, and how much further they have to go.

“This is 10 years in the making,” Martin Jewitt, the city’s portfolio development program manager, told the 100 or so people packed into the Co-operators Hall at the River Run Centre for the meeting.

“We’re happy that we’re finally moving this forward.”

Jewitt said next year will see more concrete plans for the proposal, including final budgets and designs. Part of those determinations will be borne out of a series of public consultations over the coming months.

On the city’s end of things, those consultations will include another open house in June 2019, shortly before final plans on Baker District go to council for approval.

There are also plans for community workshops in January and March, pop-up engagement sessions on Dec. 10 and a graffiti wall at the main library branch, where residents can share their ideas on what they think the new Baker District and library should be.

All of those components, in one form or another, will also be conducted online.

Another issue discussed Thursday afternoon was the final look of the project. While several concept images were shared with the public when Windmill was announced as the city’s partner in July, both the developer and the project’s architect said those will change.

“These are concepts that are by no means set in stone,” Jonathan Westeinde, Windmill’s CEO, told the crowd, adding that public feedback will go into the vision of the project going to council next summer.

Westeinde also touted the company’s plans for making the project environmentally friendly — many of his company’s past projects are LEED Platinum certified, the highest certification available from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design — but added thing will be taken a step further in Guelph.

Created by the U.K.-based Bioregional, One Planet Living is a list of principles that developers can use, such as zero carbon energy and zero waste, and encouraging walking communities and using materials from sustainable sources.

Baker District would be the second project in the country to be built as a One Planet Living community. The Zibi development, a planned 2,500-home project in Ottawa also by Windmill, is currently the sole Canada One Planet Living community.

Steve Kraft, the CEO of Guelph Public Library, confirmed the size of the new library at three storeys, and that there will be an institutional partner on the project.

“I see it as bringing real activity to this part of the city,” he said.

While an institutional partner for Baker has not yet been announced — Jewitt said that will be determined before plans come back to council next year — YMCA-YWCA of Guelph has expressed an interest in moving into the downtown core, recently launching a phone survey on the issue.

Several years ago, the Y said it would like space in the Baker Street development. Speaking recently with the Mercury Tribune, Geoff Vogt, chief executive officer of the YMCA-YWCA of Guelph, said that while Baker District is still a consideration, the Y is not yet committed to the project.

More information on this project is posted online at

By Graeme NcNaughton
Graeme McNaughton is a reporter/photographer with the Guelph Mercury Tribune.

See the original article >

Posted in Blog, News, Press | Comments Off on Packed house for first public meeting on Baker District

As seen in: Daily Commercial News

Windmill Development Group has been selected to partner with the City of Guelph, Ont. to develop a One Planet Living community, a socially and environmentally sustainable mixed-use project in the city’s downtown.

The 400,000-square-foot development is located on Baker Street and will include two 10-storey residential buildings, one on the north side and one on the south side of a new public street, which will include 25,000 square feet of retail and office space, a municipal library, a public plaza and a public parking garage. It will provide about 275 residential units to support the city’s intensification goals. The overall cost is approximately $250 million.

The property currently houses a city parking lot which will be replaced with a structured parking lot with density above it.

“It’s a city-owned parcel of land in downtown Guelph that will be an infill development,” explained Jonathan Westeinde, a managing partner with Windmill Developments. “It’s in the early planning stages. We don’t anticipate being in the ground on this project until the earliest Q4 2020 or Q1 2021.”

Westeinde said the development will use the One Planet Living framework, which resonated well with the city during the competitive RFP process. One Planet Living is a planning and sustainability framework by Bioregional, a company that works with partners to create better places for people to live, work and do business, it states. It’s predicated on building communities where people can live “happy and healthy lives within the limits of the planet, leaving space for wildlife and wilderness and using their fair share of the earth’s resources,” states the Bioregional website.

“One planet is the same framework we used on our Zibi development (Canada’s first One Planet community) in Ottawa. Basically it allows for a much broader, holistic approach beyond just the buildings, as far as creating a sustainability matrix,” said Westeinde.

“It has 10 core target areas and really goes beyond just targeting energy efficiency and waste but gets into equity and local economy, health and happiness. Fundamentally it is trying to demonstrate…how developments can happen using the resources of one planet.”

Its 10 principles, which work together to help make sustainable living a reality for anyone, anywhere, include health and happiness, equity and local economy, culture and community, land and nature, sustainable water, local sustainable food, materials and products, travel and transport, zero waste and zero carbon.

The project team for the Guelph development includes DTAH which will be responsible for landscape and urban design as well as architecture alongside Diamond Schmitt Architects.

Windmill’s sister strategic consulting company Urban Equation will design a sustainability framework that is based on the One Planet Living principles. The rest of the project team is being assembled, Westeinde reported.

The biggest challenge so far has been the infrastructure timing and requirements for the site.

“There is also going to be a central city urban park that is part of our development. It coincides with another park the city was looking to develop and planning the timing of getting the servicing to the site and all those elements…we’re just working with the city right now to line up the ducks and make sure that we can sequence things in proper order,” said Westeinde.

The developer is hoping its commercial and institutional occupants will attract locals and visitors to the site to create a strong community hub.

“The mix of tenants, which we can’t fully speak about yet, these groups are expressing interest and we are just getting them finalized,” said Westeinde. “It is meant to be a block that creates a real community hub, a real energy. It’s not just a standard commercial or retail space.”

The city’s downtown secondary plan, approved in 2012, opened the door for the Baker District to respond to the market with a major mixed-use development, said Westeinde, adding it still requires full public consultation, which will likely start in November.

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Baker District Guelph

As seen in The Ottawa Business Journal

Guelph officials have selected an Ottawa-based real estate developer to turn a parking lot and several existing buildings in the southern Ontario city into a mixed-use development featuring a new central library.

Under the agreement, which was endorsed by Guelph councillors earlier this month, Windmill will own and develop a pair of residential buildings – containing a total of 275 units – and commercial components of the project while working with the city to develop the library, parking facilities and public spaces in an area known as the “Baker District.”

Windmill beat out three other shortlisted teams from HOK, Turner Fleischer Architects and Triovest Realty Advisors.

Locally, Windmill is known for several condo developments, including the Currents above the Great Canadian Theatre Co. and The Eddy, both on Wellington Street West. The firm also developed the Christ Church Cathedral residential and office project on the west end of Sparks Street and initiated the Zibi redevelopment on the former Domtar lands overlooking the Ottawa River. That project is now spearheaded by Theia Partners and Toronto-based Dream Unlimited.

Windmill’s team includes Diamond Schmitt Architects and DTAH. Windmill’s sister strategic consulting company, Urban Equation, will also design a sustainability framework based on the One Planet Living principles.

Posted in News | Comments Off on Ottawa-based Windmill wins competition to lead Guelph property redevelopment
By Doug Fischer, Canadian Geographic – Published on: April 6, 2016Across Canada, there are old buildings finding new life through modern transformations. But such metamorphoses are complicated. Indeed, for the past three decades, Stratford, Ont. has struggled to decide on what to do with the giant, neglected railway repair shop that sits on the edge of downtown (read my story about it in the April issue of Canadian Geographic, and see photos here).Maybe Stratford’s more passionate residents would benefit from a chat with Jeff Westeinde. He’s the force behind Zibi, an ambitious plan to develop 15 hectares of historic land on two islands and along the shorelines of the Ottawa River on the Ontario-Quebec border between Ottawa and Gatineau.

Almost from its inception as an idea in 2013, Zibi (the Algonquin word for river) has overcome long odds. Conceived to be one of the most sustainable developments in the world, Zibi came together in less than two years — an achievement for any project, but remarkable for one that required the harnessing of views from two municipalities, two provinces, the federal National Capital Commission and numerous Algonquin communities for whom the site represents sacred land going back nearly 1,000 years.

“It was unanimous among our peers in the development industry that we were out of our minds, that there was no possible way this would ever see the light of day,” Westeinde, the executive chairman and co-founder of Windmill Developments Group, told me. “Yet, here we are.”

Site preparation is already well underway, and work will move into high gear this spring. The project, scheduled to be finished over the next 10 to 15 years, calls for the retrofitting and repurposing of historic lumber industry-era buildings in both Ottawa and Gatineau, the construction of new residences and retail and commercial outlets, all to be connected by a network of trails, bike paths and public transit routes. And all within view of Parliament Hill.

One-quarter of the site will be greenspace and parkland, much of it along the river, including by the Chaudiere Falls. The falls, Ottawa’s biggest tourist attraction in the late 1800s and a sacred First Nations site for close to 1,000 years, were dammed in 1908 to produce hydro-electricity and blocked from public sight. The Zibi project will restore them to view, and become the centrepiece of the $1.2-billion development.

In an odd way, says Westeinde, getting the public to embrace a project virtually no one thought was possible was actually the catalyst that pushed the project forward.

“We thought our job, quite simply, was to take the views of everybody else and turn them into a viable plan that would work for everyone,” Westeinde says. “That always starts with the community and works its way up.”

He says Windmill knew in general what it wanted — to be one of 10 One Planet communities in the world (a designation that recognizes both environmental and cultural sustainability, in this case Windmill’s engagement with the aboriginal community). Beyond that, Windmill knew only that it needed the project to make sense financially.

So it called a public meeting to find out what citizens wanted. More than 900 people showed up at that first meeting, many of them disappointed there were no fancy diagrams or scaled models to look over. In fact, there was nothing.

“If we heard criticism that night it was, ‘Why isn’t there anything for us to see? We expected to see plans.’ We told them that we wanted their thinking about what should be in our plans,” Westeinde says.

The meeting led to a consensus on how to measure success through two broad objectives: to build a project that was world class, and to regularly publish “report cards” grading the level of contribution of all the project’s participants: municipalities, provinces, regulatory agencies, planning bodies, the developer.

According to Westeinde, the work done at that first meeting, besides signalling the company’s willingness to listen to the community, “gave us a bit of a moral high ground to work through some of the tough issues.”

Within two years, most of those obstacles had been swept aside and the project had secured its many approvals and financing. There are still issues to be resolved — the Algonquin communities are themselves divided about whether the development is appropriate for a site of such cultural importance — but barring some unforeseen disaster, and given Windmill’s solid track record, Zibi is likely to be one of the capital’s must-see destinations within a few years.

The lessons learned through Zibi can provide a guide for Stratford, even if the communities and situations are different.

“Developers have lots of choices when it comes to these kinds of projects, all through southwestern Ontario and into the states,” he says. “So the developer has to feel like the community wants his project, wants to buy into the vision — a shared vision, of course — but one that is viable and practical.”

Read an extended interview with Jeff Westeinde here.

Posted in Blog, News, Press, Press and News Archives | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on How Ottawa’s Zibi project is revolutionizing sustainable urban development

By: Jennifer Ditchburn The Canadian Press, Published on Tue Jan 26 2016

OTTAWA — Canadian cities are no strangers to boneheaded urban planning decisions — the Gardiner Expressway blocking access to Toronto’s waterfront, Montreal’s crumbling Turcot interchange, space-sucking viaducts in Vancouver.

But imagine hiding a magnificent waterfall in your downtown core. Take a bow, Ottawa.

“I would think across the country that most people don’t even know what the Chaudière Falls are,” said Ken Gray, publisher of the popular city blog The Bulldog.

The falls, where a whitewater tempest of the Ottawa River cascades over terraced rocks, has been dammed for hydroelectricity and is also blocked by dozens of empty buildings left over from the lumber and pulp and paper era.

“In its day, before they dammed it and did various things to it, it was an incredibly impressive waterfall, almost a cross between rapids and waterfall.”

Now, however, there’s finally a plan to pull back the industrial curtains — part of a long-awaited urban renewal in a capital that’s not had a serious update since Canada turned 100.

By itself, the “Zibi” development is compelling — residential and commercial buildings on 15 hectares of prime real estate, with the hydroelectric turbines buried underground to create new public viewing space for the falls.

But it’s just one of several major projects that will change the look of Ottawa over the next 10 to 15 years.

There’s a light-rail system planned, with underground stations downtown; a new city art gallery and central library; a fancy new glass entrance and atrium for the National Arts Centre; and maybe even a new downtown hockey arena.

It follows Landsdowne Park, a seven-hectare entertainment district beside the Rideau Canal that’s home to a renovated football stadium, and the tulip-shaped, glass-fronted convention centre in the heart of downtown.

“With the exception of the investment of the PanAm games in Toronto, on a per capita basis, our city is going to see more dollars into renewal projects than any other city in the country,” Mayor Jim Watson said in an interview.

“It’s a combination of public and private investment that we’ve never really seen in the history of our city to this extent.”

At the Zibi project, which straddles the Ontario and Quebec sides of the river, developer Rodney Wilts walks with purpose through a labyrinth of musty, rusty old buildings, the wood-block floor so blackened by time it looks like brick.

He opens a door to a 14-metre high space, as long as one-and-a-half football fields, that once housed Domtar’s main paper machine. In another room, out a smudged window, Wilts points out a mini-waterfall tumbling into a natural rock basin — the so-called “Devil’s Hole,” another natural wonder obscured by industrial buildup.

Some indigenous leaders say the area, considered sacred by the Algonquins, should be returned to the First Nations and protected. Wilts argues the company has consulted with First Nations, including putting out a call for aboriginal tradespeople. It has won some support within that community.

The development has also earned the endorsement of the “One Planet Community” network, built on a model of zero carbon, zero waste, and integration into the natural surroundings, said Wilts, a partner with Windmill Developments.

“Finally people will be able to come here, see the falls, get close to the falls, for the first time in living memory for anyone.”

Not far away is LeBreton Flats, a nondescript, scrubby area that served as a working-class residential area with some light industrial sites before it was bought by the federal government and razed in the 1960s.

After that, nothing happened for half a century. Until today.

The National Capital Commission will unveil the details of two bids vying to develop the land — both promising to build a new NHL arena. The existing home of the Ottawa Senators, the Canadian Tire Centre, is 27 kilometres from Parliament Hill.

Commission CEO Mark Kristmanson sees LeBreton as part of the “transformative” changes in the wider area just east of Parliament Hill, which includes the Zibi development and new pathways connecting islands in the Ottawa River.

“I would say in 10 years, it will be a city that’s turned back towards its waterways from a long century of being turned away from it,” Kristmanson said in an interview.

“And that’s an important goal for us and for the municipalities as well, because it’s a great natural asset for the capital that’s not fully realized.”

The city’s 1950 urban design plan took the railway out of the city centre, banishing the train station to an area far from downtown. Waterfront land created a “green belt” around the city, only to be cleaved by car-clogged parkways.

The changes will largely improve on — or reverse entirely — those elements of post-war, car-centric thinking.

The train station will be integrated into the light-rail system to make getting downtown even faster. Greenspace near the waterfronts will be made more accessible, and density will be built back up at LeBreton Flats.

There’s a buzz of construction activity around Parliament Hill, too. Several major buildings are being renovated — fitting, since the precinct was a full-on construction site when it opened for business 150 years ago.

The 10-year plan to renovate Centre Block, beginning in 2018, has set off a cascade of other projects across the precinct. The West Block is being retrofitted to accommodate the House of Commons. MPs will sit inside a courtyard with a glass roof. The pink Potsdam stone over the windows has a new pop.

A new undergrown visitor’s entrance will change Parliament Hill’s exterior look. And the former downtown train station, now called the Government Conference Centre, will become the Senate’s new home.

“The precinct hasn’t really undergone … a transformation as extensive as this probably since the buildings were originally built in the 1800s,” said Ezio DiMillio, director general of major Crown projects for the Public Works department.

“It is a significant volume of work. There’s a complexity about it.”

Does it all mean Ottawa is about to come alive, and perhaps even meet the nebulous definition of “world class”? Depends who you ask.

Earlier this month, Ottawa Citizen columnist and author Andrew Cohen came to the provocative conclusion that, “for its lack of ambition and absence of imagination, Ottawa is the worst capital in the G7.”

The Bulldog’s Gray, agrees the city has suffered from a lack of urban planning vision and imagination, allowing itself to be led around by developers.

“This is a tourist town . . . and it would be wonderful for people from (elsewhere) to come here and go, ‘Wow, is that ever a great idea; boy, are they leading the pack in Ottawa,”’ said Gray.

“Unfortunately, they’re not going to see that. If you’re looking for innovation in this country, Ottawa’s probably not the place to go.”

Wilts sees the next decade differently.

“I think Ottawa’s is going to have all the best parts it has now,” he said, “but with a little more exciting urbanity — a few more places you can go on the water to have a drink, a few more plazas where festivals and music events and arts events can occur and happen.

“All of those things are starting to come.”

Posted in News, Press | Comments Off on Ottawa set to unveil its waterfall in huge renewal project

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

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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.”


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

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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

Annie Boucher

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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.


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

Barrie Kirk
Executive Director

Posted in Blog, News, Press, Press Releases | Comments Off on Driverless Electric Shuttle Buses to be Studied for Use at Zibi
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