8 reasons I will not buy a Zibi condo on islands in the Ottawa River
By Warren McBride
I care about my pocketbook and I have a social conscience. That's why I've come up with 8 reasons I will not buy a Zibi condo on islands in the Ottawa River.
Maybe my rationale will resonate with you, too.
- Leasers, not owners! The developers operating as WINDMILL DREAM ZIBI ONTARIO INC. (Windmill Development Group in partnership with Dream Unlimited Corp.) are currently leasing parcels of land on the islands from the former industrial owner, Domtar Inc. Land registry records show that the companies are in year two of a five year lease with Domtar. If you are living in a condo built on leased land, what happens when the developers’ lease expires?
- Located on unceded Algonquin territory, the Zibi project is opposed by 9 of 10 Algonquin Chiefs representing First Nations in the Ottawa River watershed. This is a second example of the developer not owning the land where it proposes to build condos.
- The islands are adjacent to a magnificent waterfall that is held back by a hydro dam. Chaudière Falls and its islands constitute a sacred site that the federal Liberal government needs to recognize as having value in the nation’s capital. These islands are not just chunks of land that nobody cares about. The National Capital Commission promised as recently as September 2016 that it will negotiate with First Nations over the Zibi proposal to build condos. How long will this take? Is this part of the fine print in any pre-sale agreement you might sign?
- Rezoning of the islands from parkland to commercial/residential by the City of Ottawa was appealed to the OMB by renowned Anishinaabe architect, Douglas Cardinal and four others. This court case began in the fall of 2014 and continues today. It’s no surprise that the developer, which has been part of the City of Ottawa’s defence in this case, neglects to mention this legal challenge in its condo ads. Lawsuits aren't sexy.
- E.B. Eddy and Domtar carried out their dirty business on the islands, leaving behind an industrial carcass contaminated with chemicals, hydrocarbon, heavy metals and mercury from the fine paper factory that once operated there. The Zibi developer hardly talks about how and when it will clean up the industrial site. Instead, the focus is how the Zibi community will be a green oasis. How does “green oasis” jibe with 2,000 condos, 3 million square feet of commercial space, and a hotel? Like LeBreton Flats, which is an eyesore, the Zibi project is slated to be built in phases over 10 to 15 years. Be prepared for life in a construction zone!
- The proposed condos and development will be built UNDER power lines.
- Condos proposed for the islands will be built beside power generating stations. Expansion of the generating capacity from the Chaudiere dam is happening right now and involves installation of two underground turbines that may also impact nearby buildings. Where else in Ottawa is a residential area being built above and SURROUNDED BY a hydro power plant?
- The area was never on the official NCC plan as a place to be owned by the private sector or as a residential development until until the NCC—under John Baird during the Harper years—decided that it would be best if the former industrial site stayed in private sector hands. The man that tried to sell parts of the NCC’s Central Experimental Farm to the Ottawa Hospital had a pro-business bias that many groups in Ottawa are now speaking out against. In the current reality of a soft condo market, doesn't it make sense to put your money and your conscience in places where they can have a good night's sleep?