Construction underway to transform riverfront lands into a sustainability showpiece
Gatineau, December 10, 2015 – Two years since announcing its plans to purchase and transform the former Domtar lands into the world’s most sustainable community, Windmill Developments and Dream Unlimited Corp. today officially started construction at Zibi.
Windmill and Dream officials were joined by Ville de Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin as they put the first official shovel in the ground on the Gatineau side of the inter-provincial $1.5 billion redevelopment project.
“Zibi is a visionary project that will re-invigorate this symbolic place, giving it a second wind and new energy,” said Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin, Mayor of Gatineau. “The city of Gatineau, in partnership with residents and the business community, is in the process of revitalizing its downtown core, and the Windmill project fits well within this vision. Zibi offers seamless integration into a site with a rich heritage story that will offer people a new way to enjoy the Ottawa River.”
When completed, the 37-acre former Domtar lands will have been transformed into a pedestrian-oriented community featuring waterfront parks and open spaces, a blend of commercial, retail and residential properties, a hotel, and a network of cycling paths.
“We felt it was quite fitting for us to officially begin the transformation of these lands into a sustainability showpiece during the international climate change conference,” said Rodney Wilts, Partner, Windmill Developments. “Private developers have a shared responsibility with cities in making the right choices to put a stop to climate change.”
Dream and Windmill Developments, Canada’s greenest developer, announced in May that Zibi had been endorsed as Canada’s first One Planet Community. 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.
“We know our plans for Zibi are ambitious, but we also know that developing complete communities that respect the environment and promote sustainable living is the right thing to do for our planet,” said Jason Lester, Senior Vice President of Urban Development at Dream. “Zibi will be a model for all communities.”
“One of our big One Planet commitments is to help Zibi to become a model of collaboration with First Nations in this part of the world,” said Jeff Westeinde, Chairman of Windmill Developments. “For far too long private developers have been afraid to engage with and involve First Nations in their projects. We’re hoping to prove that working together – and closing the gap – is the way forward in Canada.”
Recognizing Zibi is on unceded Algonquin territory and that the downtown Gatineau riverfront is culturally significant for the region’s First Nations, Windmill has made a concerted effort to collaborate with and provide tangible benefits to local Algonquin Anishinabe communities, and is committed to making Zibi a permanent and high profile celebration of Algonquin culture and heritage.
To that end, Windmill and Dream have engaged with Kitigan Zibi’s Decontie Construction to lead the site remediation work in partnership with Ottawa-based Milestone Environmental Contracting. Decontie and the development team will also work together to build capacity by helping indigenous workers obtain the necessary training, permits and licensing to work at Zibi. A call-out for indigenous workers interested in employment at Zibi yielded over 200 applicants.
Zibi will be developed in phases over the next 15 years.
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.
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 has an established track record for being innovative and for its ability to source, structure and execute on compelling investment opportunities.