Redevelopment of Domtar lands to be called Zibi
Former industrial site along Ottawa River to be named after Algonquin word for river
The massive redevelopment of the old Domtar industrial lands along the Ottawa River will be called Zibi, the Algonquin word for river, developers announced Tuesday.
It's part of a greater plan to include English, French and Algonquin on the signage in the future development, say developers Windmill Development and Dream Corp.
The lands on Chaudière and Albert Islands are considered sacred to First Nations people.
"Rivers [are] obviously incredibly important to our region, it's the reason we exist and obviously cuts right down the middle of our site," said developer Jeff Westeinde. "So we thought it was a very fitting name."
Windmill and Dream are planning more than three-million square feet of commercial, retail and residential developments on the 37-acre site, which also includes the downtown Gatineau riverfront. Plans include a boutique hotel, waterfront parks and a network of pedestrian and cycling paths.
Some commercial space is expected to open this fall but the overall project is not expected to be complete until 2030, developers said at a news conference Tuesday.
The construction of two six-storey condominiums along the Gatineau waterfront is expected to begin this spring, and new residents are expected to being moving in by 2017, the developers said.
Ottawa Mayor Jim Watson, Gatineau Mayor Maxime Pedneaud-Jobin and National Capital Commission CEO Mark Kristmanson praised the project for breathing new life into dormant industrial lands near the Chaudière Falls.
"I'm very excited about the future of this area," Watson said.
"We have to do it well, we have to make sure there's good public consultation and so far Windmill has done a very good job consulting the public."
Developers said they consulted with local Algonquin communities and invited representatives to the event, but none were there.
"We made a commitment a long time ago to be sure that we were inclusive of our entire community and that includes the First Nations, as well as the French and the English, the three founding communities" Westeinde said.