First Nations groups seek 'significant benefit' from LeBreton redevelopment

Aboriginal groups are watching the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats closely, and looking to form lasting partnerships with the proponents behind the winning proposal.

Algonquin chief looking for more than 'street signs and plaques'

LeBreton Flats sits on traditional Algonquin territory, and local Indigenous leaders say they're eager to find out how the redevelopment project will impact their communities. (Kate Porter/CBC)

Aboriginal groups are watching the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats closely, and looking to form lasting partnerships with the proponents behind the winning proposal.

The land sits on traditional Algonquin territory, and local Indigenous leaders say they're eager to find out how the project will impact their communities.

We're looking for and seeking some significant benefit.- Kirby Whiteduck, chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation

Kirby Whiteduck, chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, said he wants his people to benefit from the redevelopment in a meaningful way.

"Not just street signs and some plaques or something ... We're looking for and seeking some significant benefit," Whiteduck said.

Whiteduck said he wants a long-term strategy that goes beyond employment and training, lasting until construction is done.

The Senators-backed RendezVous LeBreton Group won the bid over Devcore Canderel DLS Group to redevelop LeBreton Flats on Thursday. The project is expected to cost several billion dollars and will see the Ottawa Senators hockey franchise move to a new downtown arena.

Economic development

"It's really important for the Algonquins to participate in the economic development that flows from that project," said Bob Potts, a partner at the law firm Blaney McMurtry LLP in Toronto. The firm is the principal negotiator and senior legal counsel for the Algonquins of Ontario, currently in treaty negotiations with the governments of Canada and Ontario.
Kirby Whiteduck, chief of the Algonquins of Pikwakanagan First Nation, says he wants to see his people gain "significant benefit" from the redevelopment of LeBreton Flats. (CBC)

The National Capital Commission held two information sessions with members of the region's Algonquin communities in January and February.

In an email to CBC News, NCC spokesman Mario Tremblay described the meetings as "positive," and said formal consultations with Algonquin leaders will take place in the coming months.