Federal Protection Sought For Ojibway Shores

Windsor City Council meets on September 5, 2017. Photo by Mark Brown/Blackburn News.

A section of forest land on Windsor’s west side is a step closer to being protected forever.

Windsor City Council voted unanimously Monday night to ask the federal government to declare the Ojibway Shores area an environmentally-protected location. Once granted, the 33-acre area on the west side riverfront would permanently remain a natural forest.

Questions have been raised about the future of the site since preliminary construction began on the nearby Gordie Howe International Bridge. Windsor West MP Brian Masse previously called for Ojibway Shores to be turned over to either the city of Windsor or Environment Canada.

Tom Henderson, chairman of the public advisory council for Detroit River Canadian Cleanup, spoke in support of the motion during council’s┬ámeeting on Monday. He says his biggest concern is the status of the land from the Windsor Port Authority’s point of view.

“It’s important to save that property forever,” says Henderson. “The port authority has been doing a wonderful job up to now. But it’s still listed on their website as being for industrial development.”

The port authority has had the area zoned for development since 1992. Five years ago, they scrapped a plan to place asphalt there from the Herb Gray Pkwy. construction because of public opposition.

The drive to turn the area over to the federal government intensified after nature in the area was damaged mountain bikers.

Henderson says protecting Ojibway Shores is a no-brainer.

“It’s a motherhood issue,” says Henderson. “Who could be opposed to saving those 33 acres, the most important ecological site on the Detroit River. They want a deal to be done, and I think the mayor does too.”

Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens also expressed a desire to see the area kept in its natural state.

The city has put aside $1.5-million should the need to buy the land arise.