Windmill Development Group unveiled its vision for redeveloping the long underused Domtar lands to the public on Wednesday, formally kick-starting what promises to be the challenging process of getting widespread support for the plan.
© Image courtesy of Shanta Rohse / Wikipedia Commons
Chaudière Island, as seen in 2006.
Hundreds of people gathered at the Museum of Civilization for what will likely be the first of many open houses on Windmill’s plan to develop the lands around the Albert and Chaudière islands.
Last week the company announced it had signed an agreement in principle to purchase the lands, which have been largely lifeless in recent years, from Domtar. It hopes to construct a mix of condominiums, restaurants and commercial space at the site.
However, the deal is contingent on Windmill receiving approval from the relevant levels of government to have the property rezoned, which is part of the reason why the company is placing a large emphasis on getting support for the project.
“Every single piece of information we get from you here today is going to help us feed into a plan that hopefully we can come back to the public and the various stakeholders and get buy-in in the processes that we’re taking,” Windmill founder Jonathan Westeinde said at Wednesday’s event.
The 37-acre site has roots in the capital’s economic history and is also of significance to Canada’s aboriginal community. That means the company will have to get support from a number of different groups before it can go ahead.
Windmill pulled out all the stops in trying to solicit feedback on Wednesday.
Company officials handed out sheets of paper asking members of the public to write down their thoughts on Windmill’s vision for the site. Executives asked attendees to find employees wearing company jackets and encouraged them to ask as many questions as they can.
A representative of the Algonquin First Nation also spoke at the event for about 20 minutes – roughly twice as long as Windmill’s English- and French-language presentations combined.
Windmill was short on specifics about what the site is going to look like.
The open house detailed eight different principles for the project. These included being ecologically friendly, fostering healthy living, connecting the capital to its waterfront, celebrating the significance of the site for First Nations and incubating innovation.