Friday, August 26, 2011

DOCKSIDE GREEN: What Lebreton could've been (Part 2)

After publishing a blog post yesterday about the Dockside Green development in Victoria I read an article by Kaid Benfield of the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) about the same project. He raised some interesting points that I didn't cover in my post that showed its magnitude as well as the work of Windmill Developments.

Now let me say that my quoting and referring to this blog post doesn't necessarily mean I share the views of NRDC and the author.

I must say that this blog post left me with a lot of respect for Ottawa's Windmill Development Group. They demonstrated a lot of vision on this project. Kaid wrote:

"...when NRDC, the US Green Building Council and the Congress for the New Urbanism first announced the LEED for Neighbourhood Development pilot program to honor smart growth, the developers of Dockside Green [Windmill Development Group] made a point of being the program’s very first applicant...its two completed residential phases have also earned platinum ratings under the LEED green building programs, in one case setting a new world record for the highest LEED building score ever achieved and in the second case tying their own record."

Windmill seems to be keen on being a forerunner in applying for new sustainability programs and breaking world records for LEED developments. 

Kaid has given us more reasons to be impressed with Windmill.

"Dockside Green is being built by the financial institution Vancity, which launched the project with its partner, Windmill Developments, a firm committed to sustainability that persuaded the city of Victoria to approve a bold green concept for the site.  (All of Windmill's projects have achieved LEED platinum certification.)"

Other impressive points about the projects raised by the writer are:
  • Dockside Green is on its way to becoming a 26-building redevelopment of a 15-acre, former brownfield industrial site (cleanup alone reportedly cost $20 million), being built in phases as an eventual mixed-use community of 1.3 million square feet and some 2500 residents.  
  • The project is being developed in12 phases, comprising three neighborhoods, over seven years.
  • Dockside Green is host to a biomass gasification plant that, along with additional renewable energy technology including on-building windmills and solar panels, enables the development to be carbon-neutral. 
I have to say I'm impressed with Windmill so far and look forward to seeing more of their work in Ottawa (even though they're using a different architect for Cathedral Hill).

After reading an Ottawa Citizen article called "Drafting a new blueprint" NCC CEO Marie Lemay stated that the Claridge development is only four hectares of a 37-hectare area slated for mixed use development in the Lebreton area. She is also sure that down the line Lebreton Flats will be something Ottawa will be proud of. They appear to have a plan for the area so let's give them the benefit of the doubt.

With a developer like Windmill in Ottawa I long to see such a beautiful and award-winning development in our city. This isn't the case of Ottawa wanting to be like another city; it's Ottawa leveraging award-winning expertise that's already here.

To read the full article by Kaid Benfield visit He has a number of pictures, renderings, videos and information about Dockside Green. Enjoy!

Kevin Bourne

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