Algonquin-owned Decontie Construction wins federal contract to lead Victoria Island remediation

algonquin diconte
Elders from Kitigan Zibi and Algonquins of Barriere Lake joined Decontie Milestone Inc. and its workers, as well as NCC and Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council representatives at an Algonquin Anishinabe led ceremony on Victoria Island before the start of work. Credit: Greg Jodouin

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Ontario Construction News staff writer

An Algonquin Anishinabe company, Decontie Construction Inc., in partnership with Milestone Environmental Contracting Inc., together as Decontie Milestone Inc. has been awarded a contract from the National Capital Commission (NCC) to lead the next phase of remediation on Victoria Island, a place of great significance for the Algonquin-Anishinabe.

The remediation work, which will begin this Fall, is expected to take about six months, and create jobs for Indigenous workers. Importantly, this is the first time an Algonquin-owned company will lead a federal contract to remediate lands in the National Capital Region – at the heart of the unceded and unsurrendered Algonquin territory

“I remember coming to this landmark place as a child for celebrations, important causes and to make our presence known and voices heard,” Wanda Thusky, partner of Decontie Construction Inc., said in a statement last Tuesday (Oct. 5).

“To stand here today, with the NCC, celebrating the start of a clean-up project led by our Algonquin-owned company means more than I can say.”

“The NCC is pleased that the remediation of Victoria Island contract was awarded to an Algonguin Anishinabe contractor who specializes in environmental remediation,” said NCC chief executive officer Tobi Nussbaum.

“Following the completion of the work in 2025, Victoria Island will be reopened to the public. Next steps for this important site include the development of a master plan in partnership with the Algonquin Anishinabe Nation to establish a place of special significance in the Capital for Indigenous peoples and their cultural traditions,” he said.

This is not the first glass wall that Decontie and Milestone have broken through. In 2016, the Indigenous and non-Indigenous owned companies partnered to remediate the lands at the adjacent 34-acre Zibi redevelopment project, creating jobs for Algonquin Anishinabe workers and breaking a number of barriers for Algonquin Anishinabeg on their territory.

The Zibi project resulted in Decontie Construction Inc. becoming the first-ever Indigenous company to win the Brownfielder of the Year Award from the Canadian Brownfields Network.

“This is truly a symbol of what reconciliation can look like,” said Barry Grover, strategic partnerships, Milestone Environmental Contracting Inc. “Developers and construction companies across Canada, particularly out west, are increasingly partnering with Indigenous companies.

“The construction industry in the National Capital Region has been slow to pick up this model, but this project proves the capacity is there among the Algonquin Nation. Industry needs to look for opportunities to hire and continue to build-up that capacity. They will be astonished by their professionalism and what they can learn from them.”

“This contract is a stepping-stone for our people, our businesses and our Nation as a whole,” said Patrick Dumont Jr., who is presently the Algonquin Nation’s Procurement Officer from the Algonquin Anishinabeg Nation Tribal Council.

“When we heard that an Algonquin owned business (Decontie Milestone Inc.) was bidding on this contract we did everything possible to assist them.The NCC’s decision to hire an Algonquin-led company to lead the clean up of these lands contaminated by hundreds of years of settler industry will open the door to more contracts on our unceded Algonquin-Anishinabe territory. The capacity is there if you look for it and if the means are made available.”

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