Zibi

The latest One Planet Community will be a highly sustainable mixed-use development of some 2,500 homes, shops and office space in the heart of Canada’s capital city.

A major urban regeneration project with high green ambitions

Zibi, which means ‘river’ in the Algonquin language, is a waterfront area located next to downtown Ottawa and its neighbouring city of Gatineau, overlooking both the Ottawa River and Chaudière Falls.

Redeveloped from industrial brownfield land once dominated by a paper mill, the 37-acre site will include commercial and retail properties, condominium developments, a hotel, waterfront parks and open spaces and a network of pedestrian and cycling paths.

Over three million square feet of development is planned on a site which covers two river islands between Ottawa and Gatineau and land in Gatineau.

Developers Windmill Development Group and Dream Unlimited Corp, working with Bioregional, have used the 10 principles of the One Planet Living framework to help guide sustainability and eco-friendly planning for Zibi. A sustainability action plan based on the principles was endorsed in May 2015.

Highlights of Zibi’s action plan include:

  • A district-wide energy system, which aims to provide Zibi with zero carbon energy by 2020. It will use waste heat from a nearby paper mill
  • Working together with the Algonquin-Anishinabe community in ways that generate lasting and tangible benefits to present and future generations; creating a new model for how private developers engage with First Nations in Canada.
  • A target for 2% or less of the waste generated by the completed development to go to landfill
  • 90% reduction in transport greenhouse gas emissions compared to the regional average, thanks to prioritising walking, cycling and charging points for electric vehicles. This will be a highly walkable area, with every home within 500 metres of workplaces
  • Cutting water use by more than half compared to the regional average – water-using appliances will be highly-efficient and non-potable water will be used for irrigation of green spaces and toilet flushing
  • Radically increasing biodiversity (by 400%) above existing levels on the site
  • Housing opportunities for a diverse range of renters and buyers, and preferential allocation in some of the commercial space to local and socially responsible businesses
  • Bringing new life to up to seven heritage buildings on the site

An Advisory Council on Integrity has been set up by the Algonquin-Anishinabe, to ensure the integrity and appropriateness of the Zibi development on issues of First Nations culture, heritage and socio-economics.

About the developers

Windmill Development Group is a Canadian property developer dedicated to transforming conventional development practices by using a triple bottom line approach to its projects. This ensures that strong ecological, social and financial returns are achieved.

Dream Unlimited Corp., founded in 1994, is one of Canada’s leading real estate companies with over 1,000 employees and $15.0 billion of assets under management in North America and Europe. The scope of the business includes residential land development, asset management and management services for four Toronto Stock Exchange-listed funds, investments in and management of Canadian renewable energy infrastructure and commercial property ownership.