Construction starts on Windmill’s Zibi project

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STAFF WRITER
– The Ottawa Construction News

Construction has started at Windmill Development’s $1.2 billion Zibi project on Chaudiere Island, a massive initiative that will take an expected 15 years to complete. Windmill scheduled the groundbreaking ceremony for Dec. 9.

The first $200 million phase will include infrastructure, the renovation of two former industrial structures as well as building two new residential buildings.

Windmill intends to construct an environmentally sustainable “city within a city” – though there are debates within the algonquin First Nations about the project. The assembly of First Nations opposed the project by a 12 to 4 margin, but there were 90 abstentions, project supporter and elder Cliff Meness from Pikwàkanagàn was quoted as saying in a published report.

“The fact that we’re standing here today putting a shovel in the ground a mere two years after announcing our intent to buy the property is testament to the cities realizing the vision for their downtown waterfronts,” said Windmill co-founder Jeff Westeinde.

Zibi aims to be one of the most environmentally friendly communities in North america and has been endorsed as Canada’s first sustainable “One Planet Community.”

Westeinde says the first residential units should be ready for move in by the spring of 2017.

The Algonquins, divided on the issue, were represented by supporters at the ground breaking, including Meness and andrew Decontitie, president of kitigan Zibibased Decontie Construction. The Windmill partnership is a “dream come true,” he said.

Windmill Developments had earlier announced this summer it has partnered with Decontie Construction on the Zibi project. In addition to remediation and construction work, 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,” Westeinde said in an earlier announcement. “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.”

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