Windmill signs purchase agreement for Domtar lands

Mark Brownlee
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Ottawa’s Windmill Development Group has reached another milestone in its quest to bring new life to the Domtar lands around Albert and Chaudière Islands.

Chaudière Island, as seen in 2006.

The company has signed an agreement to purchase the lands, according to a company press release issued on Wednesday evening.

That brings Windmill, which specializes in land remediation and sustainable development, one step closer to its vision of constructing a mix of hotels, restaurants, condominiums and commercial space for knowledge-based industries at the site.

Financial terms of the deal were not released.

“Our vision is to create Canada’s most sustainable mixed-used community right here in the nation’s capital,” said Jonathan Westeinde, co-founder of the Windmill Development Group, in a statement.

“We plan to bring new life and energy to this once bustling heart of industry, and give the people of Ottawa and Gatineau a new way to experience and appreciate one of the great rivers of the world, the Ottawa.”

The only remaining roadblock to a completed sale is for Windmill to get approval to have the property rezoned for a mixed-use development, the press release said.

That means Windmill’s attention will now turn to forging consensus among the groups that have a stake in the project’s outcome – no small task considering just how many governments and interest groups are involved.

Windmill consulted several organizations – such as the Ottawa Riverkeeper and Algonquins Ontario – during the due diligence process, the press release said.

The company is going to submit its redevelopment application to the cities of Gatineau and Ottawa in the spring.

In the meantime it’s received positive early feedback from some of the groups that will have to give it the green light before moving ahead.

“The encouragement we’ve received from the National Capital Commission, the two cities, the Algonquin people, and the environmental community has been overwhelming. People are extremely enthusiastic to have something great happen at this location,” said Rodney Wilts, a partner in Windmill.

In a speech earlier this fall, founding partner Jeff Westeinde said the cities of Ottawa and Gatineau have agreed to a single design review panel to go over the company’s plans.

The mayors of Ottawa and Gatineau, along with the CEO from the National Capital Commission, were all quoted in the project as expressing support for the project.

Meanwhile the public will get its first detailed look at Windmill’s plans at a public consultation scheduled for next Wednesday at the Canadian Museum of Civilization.

Organizations: Domtar, Windmill Development Group, National Capital Commission Canadian Museum of Civilization

Geographic location: Ottawa, Gatineau, Canada

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