The peeling walls and old rusted pipes that cling to life on the deteriorating stone walls inside of a dark and dampened Gatineau buildings conjures images of a scene straight from an old horror flick.
Any minutes now, the origin of all the echoed clinks and clanks that creep into the abandoned agoraphobic-inducing rooms will reveal itself to be the tapping of a hand made of knives belonging to a man in a striped green and red sweater.
It might be hard to believe, but this early 19th century building that was once a bustling industrial paper mill — along with a number of others like it on site — will be turned into a thriving, modern (futuristic even) eco community.
All it needs is some tender loving care and 10 to 15 years to overhaul.
“It’s an exciting project since we’re going to be the first One Planet project in Canada,” said Pascal Boyer, event coordinator for Zibi, the company that owns the site. “It means that it’s going to be an environmental community that is social and very active.”
The site, known as the E.B. Eddy buildings, will be reimagined and incorporated into what Zibi calls as a “city within a city”, an area along the water that includes condos, recreation and retail.
Many of the buildings — most of them heritage — will not be knocked down and will stay as part of the development plan, said Boyer.
They will, however, be renovated and kept up to municipal buildings codes.
But for some of the buildings that cannot be salvaged, the company will reuse its materials to incorporate into the construction of other buildings or donated, a concept and philosophy that Zibi has practiced with its other sites int he United States and United Kingdom.
“We’re really trying to keep as much as we can,” said Boyer. “We also found a couple of artifacts here and there that we want to reintegrate in the new developments… These will really add to the charm of the area.”
Shovels are expected to break ground by late October or early November.
Ottawa is also expected to get its own Zibi developments in the coming years on Chaudiere Island and Albert Island.
The public can view the site before development when Zibi hosts guided tours on Sept. 19 and Oct. 20.