First ever Indigenous recipient of the Canadian Brownfields Network’s Brownie Awards
Algonquin-Anishinabe company Decontie Construction has been awarded the prestigious Brownfielder of the Year award by the Canadian Brownfield Network. This is the first time a Brownie has been awarded to an Indigenous recipient since they were founded in 2001. It was also the first time a territorial acknowledgement marked the opening of the evening ceremonies.
The Brownie awards recognize excellence among the people, programs, and projects involved in the redevelopment of brownfield properties across Canada.
Andrew Decontie, President of Decontie Construction, and his wife and partner Wanda Thusky were in Toronto on November 26 to accept their award.
“As an Algonquin-Anishinabe company who has fought so hard to break down barriers and silos for our workers and industry, we could not be prouder to accept this award,” said Andrew Decontie, President of Decontie Construction. “This achievement could not have been possible without our team’s dedication and hard work, and the support of our colleagues and friends at Zibi.”
Decontie Construction won for its tremendous achievements in remediating over 100,000 tonnes of contaminated soil for the 34 acre mixed-use Zibi redevelopment, a $1.2 billion residential, retail and commercial community uniquely located on riverfront lands and islands between Ottawa and Gatineau.
The Zibi project has opened the door for numerous other opportunities in brownfield remediation and involvement of First Nation members in this work. Andrew Decontie and Wanda Thusky personally invest their time in promoting a better understanding of brownfields as strategic assets to Indigenous community members and leaders.
“First Nation workers are stepping up to clean ground contamination, and demonstrating a better way of treating the land for the benefit of future generations,” said Wanda Thusky. “We are using this Brownie Award as a platform to call upon remediation leaders from across the country to partner with the First Nations people of their own territories, and work alongside their host nations to bring much needed change both in construction practices and relationships.”
Since 2015, Decontie has successfully completed projects worth several million dollars, and gainfully employed dozens of Algonquin First Nation women and men in the process, including the $4.5 million decommissioning of Hydro Québec’s Corbeau facility, and a recent brownfield redevelopment project in Parry Sound, in partnership with Milestone Environmental Contracting Inc.