The validity of Zibi's One Planet Living designation is in question thanks to an investigative piece that reveals one of Windmill Development Group's partners sits on One Planet's Board of Directors and that future endorsements of the project's green claims lack the rigor of other green certifications such as LEED. Is it valid for Windmill to market the Zibi condo project as greener than green?
An article published by the National Observer on Sept. 1 raises important questions about Windmill Development's influence on the endorsement it has received from One Planet Living, which has allowed the company to claim that it is creating "one of the world's most sustainable communities" at its proposed Zibi condo site on sacred islands in the Ottawa River.
The investigative piece by Kate Cormack points out that the One Planet designation was granted to Windmill before construction began, rather than after construction, as is the case with other established designations such as LEED certification.
“You can paint this development as green as you want, but if it’s on our sacred site, it’s not green anymore,” Chief Harry St. Denis of Wolf Lake First Nation said. The Algonquin chief is one of many speaking out in opposition to the condo project, and to the Energy Ottawa expansion happening in the Ottawa River adjacent to Chaudiere Island.
“You got to remember [the developers] have a bottomless pit of money to promote their [project],” said St-Denis. “First Nations we don’t have that luxury. Even myself, I’m up in Kipawa, I can’t be in Ottawa promoting our side. So that’s why we have to appeal to the federal government.”
Also quoted in the article is Erwin Dreesen of the local environmental group, the Greenspace Alliance. He called the proposed condo project “offensive.”
“This is a unique, once in a lifetime opportunity to reclaim this symbolic and significant green space in the heart of the national capital,” Dreessen said. “The proposed development does not align at all with this overall vision.”