More opposition emerges to Windmill's Zibi project

Four Algonquin First Nations in Quebec have come out opposed to Four Algonquin First Nations in Quebec have come out opposed to Windmill Development Group’s Zibi project at Chaudiere Falls.Group’s Zibi project at Chaudiere Falls.

In a release issued Tuesday, the chiefs and councils for Wolf Lake, Timiskaming, Eagle Village and Barriere Lake called for protection of the space, which they consider to be sacred ground.

“These are lands taken illegally, acquired by the federal government and leased to some of the power companies and pulp mills that destroyed Algonquin Territory and Algonquin livelihoods,” they said.

The four First Nations say they were not consulted by any level of government or the National Capital Commission about zoning changes to the land for the $1.2-billion residential, commercial and retail development on Chaudiere and Albert Islands.

“Our four Algonquin First Nations call for our sacred area Akikodjiwan to be protected in perpetuity and recognized within the National Capital Region as an Algonquin Nation Cultural Park and Historic Commemoration Site under an Algonquin controlled institution to be established by the legitimate Algonquin First Nations,” they said, calling on all levels of government to contact them to discuss their wishes.

The opposition comes on day two of a three-day hearing where the Ontario Municipal Board is considering the city of Ottawa’s appeal to dismiss motion to block the development put forward by architect Douglas Cardinal. Mr. Cardinal wants the area turned into parkland and a designated sacred site for the Algonquin people.

“We’re hopeful that the city’s motion to dismiss this will be successful, but that’s in the hands of the OMB at this time,” Windmill founding partner Jeff Westeinde said late Monday.

Work on the project is underway on the Quebec side, but the Ontario work must wait for the OMB ruling, Mr. Westeinde said.

Decontie Construction, a firm based on the Kitigan Zibi reserve outside Maniwaki, has been hired as Algonquin liaison general contractor for the project. It began creating a labour inventory Monday of Algonquin tradespeople interested in working on the project.

One day in, Decontie had already received 40 applications, Mr. Westeinde said, adding he thinks the number of Algonquin workers on the site will be “significant.”

“This is just one of many of the initiatives we’ve been working on with the Algonquins,” Mr. Westeinde said.