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Despite confusing statements from some, this is a solid reconciliation proposal that will transform the land into a vibrant, connected, 15-minute community founded on Algonquin values.
Last week, the City of Ottawa took a significant step on its journey towards reconciliation when municipal committees voted to include land owned by the Algonquins of Ontario inside an expanded urban boundary. The project we plan to build is called “Tewin.”
Since that time, there have been several confusing and inaccurate comments made by our Algonquin neighbours from Quebec.
While these are disappointing, we must remain steadfast on our path to reconciliation. The Algonquins of Ontario are comprised of 10 Indigenous communities whose members, both status and non-status alike, are Indians vested with Aboriginal Rights pursuant to the laws of Canada. Every one of our members must satisfy a rigorous enrolment criteria to participate in the treaty negotiations that are underway with the governments of Canada and Ontario. Both governments – the federal and provincial – recognize the AOO as the legitimate body to negotiate a treaty – a treaty that is more than 200 years overdue.
And it wasn’t developed in haste.
The opportunity to purchase the Tewin lands resulted from the duty to consult that is required by the Ontario government on the sale of any proposed surplus lands within the unceded AOO Settlement Area. These lands are part of our traditional territory, where we have long had a historical presence, and this is a tangible example of the Algonquins and the government of Ontario continuing our efforts to work toward reconciliation.
The purchase of these lands was done separately from our ongoing treaty negotiations with the governments of Ontario and Canada, and fair market value was paid.
Quite simply, Tewin is a generational opportunity to create one of Canada’s most innovative and sustainable new communities, but it finally weaves the Algonquin people into the socioeconomic fabric of the nation’s capital.
Tewin represents the best of community planning. It is an unprecedented proposal seeking to transform land in southeast Ottawa into a vibrant, connected, 15-minute community founded on Algonquin values. It will make Ottawa the only city in North America with two One Planet Living-endorsed communities, cementing our stature as a global leader in sustainable design. One Planet Living provides a holistic framework that measures development performance against a set of clear social, environmental and economic sustainability principles.
And let us be clear: Tewin’s technical viability and planning merits are second to none. Ottawa-based soil experts, servicing engineers, transit engineers and cost consultants have confirmed the viability of the land on which the community will be built. In fact, geotechnical engineers from Golder concluded that the soil conditions of Tewin lands “are not unlike those encountered within portions of other developments, that have been built or are under construction, within the City of Ottawa that we are aware of such as Riverside South, Conservancy Lands, Kanata South and West, Spring Valley and Greenboro.”
To this end, the City of Ottawa’s general manager of planning, infrastructure and economic development has also acknowledged that a recent scoring of the Tewin project had not considered the extensive information submitted by a variety of experts.
We welcome this information being released publicly, because in conceiving of this project, the Algonquins of Ontario and Taggart Group saw a transformational opportunity to bring the Five Big Moves – a hallmark of the City of Ottawa’s new Official Plan – into reality. Those Five Big moves include: growth management; mobility; community and urban design; climate, energy and public health; and economic development.
Tewin incorporates these Five Big Moves in a wide variety of ways, first by helping Ottawa accommodate future population growth while protecting valuable agricultural lands within the city. In addition, some 600 hectares of natural heritage lands at Tewin are proposed to be protected through a Natural Land Trust, functionally extending the Greenbelt.
The development will feature an embedded, high-quality transit service – funded at no additional cost to taxpayers – with links to the broader transit network and direct proximity to Highway 417. It will embrace green building technologies and smart cities design, with walkable and bikeable areas integrated throughout to foster an environment that is healthy, sustainable, and connected to the earth.
Tewin will make efficient use of available sewer capacity and infrastructure systems, with the Algonquins of Ontario and Taggart Group assuming design and construction costs related to all additional sewer, water and stormwater services required for the community.
And finally, Tewin will be a digitally connected, innovative community supporting job growth, industry and the contemporary working arrangements that will propel the economy of the future.
For the past many months, the Algonquins of Ontario and Taggart Group have shared the story of what Tewin can be: a story of unprecedented opportunity for Ottawa, one of merged cultures and history, unity and collaboration, innovation and excellence. Now, we are excited to take the next steps in that story, building a community which all people can call home and one which serves as a model for Canada and the world.
Story originally published by the Ottawa Citizen.