Ojibway motion passes at Queens Park

Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Andrew Dowie. Submitted photo.

The provincial government is a step closer to being on board with the creation of a national urban park in west Windsor.

Members of the Ontario Legislature passed Motion 15 Tuesday evening, which called for the province to combine the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve with adjacent lands under federal management for the Ojibway National Urban Park.

The motion is tied to private members’ business that was introduced by Windsor-Tecumseh MPP Andrew Dowie. He opened the debate Tuesday evening, discussing the virtues of creating some 900 acres of undeveloped land in west Windsor for the urban park.

“That, in the opinion of this House, the Government of Ontario should consider integrating the Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve with adjacent lands under the management of Parks Canada to facilitate the creation of Ojibway National Urban Park as part of an overall strategy to protect local endangered species and natural heritage areas, aid flood mitigation efforts, create publicly accessible greenspace and further encourage ecotourism in Windsor-Essex,” read Dowie’s motion.

If the process is successful, the space will include the area currently occupied by Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve, Spring Garden Natural Area, Black Oak Heritage Park, the Tallgrass Prairie Park and Ojibway Shores.

The latter piece of land consists of the last surviving undeveloped shoreline on the Detroit River.

Windsor West MPP Lisa Gretzky, whose riding includes the proposed Ojibway National Urban Park, also spoke Tuesday.

“This has been a truly collaborative project, and I have been privileged to work with community groups and leaders from across the region to keep pushing for this vital urban park in my riding of Windsor West,” said Gretzky.

Gretzky had tabled a motion on the park in late August, but Dowie had introduced a motion of his own soon after, which he said cleared up questions about land management.

Essex MPP Anthony Leardi also spoke out in favour of Motion 15 Tuesday.

Bill C-248, which amends existing federal law to create the park, has entered the report stage in the House of Commons, with a final vote coming in the new year.