Windmill gets Algonquins of Ontario's support for Zibi project

On the heels of more opposition from four Algonquin First Nations in Quebec, Windmill Development Group now has the Algonquins of Ontario (AOO) on its side as it prepares for its $1.2-billion Zibi project at Chaudiere Falls.

Windmill signed a Letter of Intent Thursday with the AOO, creating a partnership to preserve and promote Algonquin culture in the residential, commercial and retail development on Chaudiere and Albert islands.

“Windmill is honoured to be working in partnership with the Algonquin people to ensure their longstanding presence and history in the area of Zibi is both duly honoured and preserved,” Windmill founding partner Jeff Westeinde said in a statement.

The ten Algonquin communities that comprise the AOO agreed in 2004 to work together to reach a settlement of the Algonquin land claim in Eastern Ontario. One of the communities, the Pikwakanagan First Nation, signed a similar LOI with Windmill in June. The one signed with the entire AOO complements the June deal.

As part of the agreement, Windmill is acknowledging the land in question along the Ottawa River has never been ceded. It will work with the AOO on several initiatives including creating employment for Aboriginal tradespeople on the site, a project already underway. The partners will work to create business opportunities for aboriginals, develop youth employment and mentorship programs, and install public art, signs, and design elements to incorporate the Algonquin’s history on the land.

Robert Potts, the principal negotiator and senior legal counsel for the Algonquin Treaty Negotiations, said the region is integral to the Algonquin people and their culture.

“We look forward to working with Windmill to ensure the Algonquin history is preserved and celebrated in this development, and that the innovation associated with Zibi is also a reflection of new opportunities for the Algonquin people,” Mr. Potts said in a statement.