Concerns About Replacement Bridge Brought To House Of CommonsOctober 5, 2017 9:05pm
As the preparations for building a replacement span for the Ambassador Bridge move full steam ahead, the concerns of local citizens are being raised at the federal level.
Windsor West MP Brian Masse brought these concerns to the floor of the House of Commons on Thursday, in an effort to ensure transparency in the bridge building process.
“At the end of the day, it’s part of making sure the accountability is there for the community. And that we aren’t going to get the shaft when it comes to some of the different issues that we’ll face, whether it will be the use of land, or whether it be the closure of streets, or… the allocation of resources,” says Masse.
Masse says the debate at the House of Commons, along with a public meeting held last month, were a response to how quickly the government announced its approval of the replacement span in early September. He says many aspects of the project remain unclear.
“It was definitely a response to the fact that there was no community engagement in regards to how this is going to roll out. And there still has yet to be that [engagement] sufficiently,” he says. “We need to continue to pressure that it’s bad for not only the residents in the community, but also for the economy and the businesses.”
Masse says he presented a letter and a list of questions from the local community to the parliamentary secretary at the House. He says it was expressed during the debate that the government would be taking note of all the concerns raised.
“I think they’re finally getting the message,” he says.
According to a release from Transport Canada, the Detroit International Bridge Company must “ensure the efficiency, safety and security of the crossing and mitigate the impacts of the project on the local community. The conditions include the dismantling of the existing bridge when the replacement bridge is open, improving local infrastructure, creating new public green spaces, and protecting the environment and considering Indigenous interests.”
Masses says despite these conditions, it was important to take a preemptive approach to protect the interests of local residents and businesses.
“The past has indicated that if we didn’t have this type of motivation, and we didn’t have this type of drive from the community for accountability and transparency, [we] would be left twisting in the wind. And that’s simply not acceptable for the residents of our community,” he says.
The demolition process began this week on the vacant, boarded up homes on Indian Rd. in Windsor, which are owned by the Detroit International Bridge Company. The company has currently been granted a demolition permit for one of its home on Indian Rd. to clear a path for the bridge. Another 32 permits should be issued within the next week as Union Gas and Enwin shut-off services to the properties.
The new bridge will be six lanes, three in each direction with dedicated nexus and fast lanes. Construction is expected to take three years to complete.
-With files from Maureen Revait