Ojibway Shores talks are progressing

A windy day along the Detroit River, November 12, 2015. (Photo by Jason Viau)

While its fate is being discussed in Ottawa, the Windsor Port Authority said it is continuing talks about Ojibway Shores.

The 33-acre site along the west Windsor riverfront is not far from the construction site for the Gordie Howe International Bridge, and it remains the last undeveloped parcel of land in that area. The land’s future, however, has been discussed for a few years.

Windsor West MP Brian Masse was scheduled to debate the issue Thursday night on the floor of the House of Commons, asking the federal government to declare Ojibway Shores as a protected green space. But Steve Salmons, president and CEO of the Port Authority, said this week they have been negotiating for a land swap.

“We are publicly committed to preserving Ojibway for the community as a natural heritage, and the means we are taking is through a land swap with the city,” said Salmons. “I believe the city is actively involved with the heritage corporation for the land they will swap to us for further development in the future.”

Windsor City Council voted unanimously last year to ask the federal government to preserve the site as a heritage parcel. The Port Authority had the area zoned for development since 1992, and in 2013 they scratched a plan to dump discarded asphalt from the Herb Gray Parkway project because of strong opposition. Recent damage to nature in the area by mountain bikers only intensified the heritage talks.

Salmons said the port authority has been in consultations with five aboriginal bands concerning the future of Ojibway Shores, which should be completed by the end of the summer. He said he encountered no major issues and he is confident that their deal with the city will go through.

“From our point of view, we see no reason that our deal with the city of Windsor won’t be completed by year-end,” said Salmons.