MP Brian Masse, left, leads a town hall meeting on the Ambassador Bridge replacement project. Also from left, Matt Marchand, Brian Hogan of the Windsor and District Labour Council, MP Tracey Ramsey, MPP Lisa Gretzky and MP Cheryl Hardcastle. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

Public Input Gathered On Bridge Span

A member of parliament from Windsor is gathering input on a planned replacement for the Ambassador Bridge.

MP Brian Masse of Windsor West hosted a town hall meeting for about 200 people Wednesday night at the Fogolar Furlan Club. Its purpose was to allow people to ask questions about the project and gather information on what is happening with it.

The federal government announced last week that it had granted a construction permit to the Ambassador Bridge Company to build a replacement span next to the current Ambassador Bridge, which has been in service since 1929. Conditions for the permit include tearing down the current bridge once the new one is completed.

Masse began the town hall meeting with a Powerpoint presentation explaining what the plan was for the new bridge, along with the conditions placed by the federal government in issuing the construction permit. Next, attendees who had questions were asked to fill out a paper, and the questions were read and answered from the dais.

Truck traffic, correlations between this bridge and the publicly-owned Gordie Howe International Bridge, and property values were among the topics covered.

Speaking with reporters during a break in the meeting, Masse did not hold back his disappointment with the majority Liberals with the way the plan has been communicated to people, firing a subtle jab at Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“There was no selfie in the cabinet meeting when this document was signed,” said Masse. “Where’s the selfie from the Prime Minister on this? It’s not happening, it didn’t happen, and it just shows I think that there’s a disdain and a phoniness with regards to public outreach and in public communication.”

Fellow MPs Tracey Ramsey of Essex and Cheryl Hardcastle of Windsor-Tecumseh were also present, along with Ontario MPP Lisa Gretzky, whose riding includes west Windsor. Gretzky reiterated the residents’ right to have a publicly-owned bridge and have it built with Canadian and US labour.

Ramsey expressed concern over the new bridge not having the amenities promised, while Hardcastle dismissed the government’s communication efforts regarding the bridge as an “epic fail”.

Masse, for his part, was happy with the way the meeting went.

“I’m very pleased. The public turnout was excellent, along with the turnout from the other invited guests that were here” said Masse. “I think that shows respect to the general public about the fact that there are so many questions on what to do next.”