Gretzky wants province to join talks on National Urban Park

Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky and Windsor West MP Brian Masse discuss the creation of a national urban park, October 7, 2021. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky is calling on the province to join discussions to create a national urban park in Windsor.

The Province of Ontario currently owns and manages the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve adjacent to Ojibway Park.

“This is a beautiful area, many people have walked through the different pieces of it. But to connect it would be huge for our community and for others that come into our community, and it would benefit our economy by having eco-tourism,” said Gretzky.

Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, October 2021. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, October 2021. (Photo by Maureen Revait)

Gretzky has sent a letter to Premier Doug Ford and the Minister of Environment asking them to participate in talks with the city and federal government.

She has launched a petition to present to the Ontario legislature to ask MPPs to engage in discussions, transfer the land to the federal government, and work with local Indigenous people to protect the land and its endangered species.

“This way we can all join together and put the pressure on the provincial government to get to the table now. To start having those conversations now while the federal government and the municipality and Caldwell First Nations are having those important conversations,” said Gretzky.

Just prior to the election, the federal government made a commitment to start those discussion to create a national urban park connecting Ojibway Park, Spring Garden Natural Area, Black Oak Heritage Park, the Tallgrass Prairie Park, the provincial nature reserve, and Ojibway Shores.

However, at that time, the government did not commit to putting legislation in place to protect the park. Windsor West MP Brian Masse says this would be a mistake and he plans to introduce legislation in the new year that would create a national urban park that would be protected like other national parks in the country.