Approximately 250 people crowded into Mackenzie Hall on Windsor's west side Wednesday night to tell the Windsor Port Authority to leave Ojibway Shores alone.
The port authority has plans to cut down the trees and fill the site with clean dirt to eventually attract an industrial tenant.
Before the meeting, opponents of the plan held a rally outside the hall. Speakers urged people to fight to save Ojibway Shores.
The message made its way inside where the port authority hosted the public meeting.
It was an emotional meeting that was orderly, for the most part.
"I came out today to protect what little we have left of the natural area in Windsor and Essex County," Lisa Jones said. "I think of my daughter, who is eight months, and what she’s going to have left."
Environmentalists say the land is important because it connects the Detroit River to Ojibway Park.
"If we sever that connection, we don’t know what the consequences would be," Sarah Preney said.
The port's chairman, Charlie Pingle, outlined port's plans and assured the public an inventory of species has been completed by Dillon Consulting.
"They find no species at risk at this time," Pringle said.
The claim drew a raucous response from the crowd.
"Am I getting a sense there isn’t agreement on that?" Pringle asked.
The port authority's president David Cree said everyone's comments will be considered as Dillon Consulting continues preparing an environmental review:
"This is part of the input of the ongoing environmental assessment and we've committed to putting the environmental assessment on our website," Cree said.
A draft of the environmental assessment is expected to be ready within three weeks.
Some at the meeting called the plan a "scheduled execution" of Ojibway Shores.
However, Ian Roul, the consultant working on the environmental assessment said the property is already "highly disturbed" with no observed presence of even vulnerable plant and bird species.
A biologist with the Essex Region Conservation Authority disputed that saying Ojibway Shores is a provincially significant site and home to several provincial and federal species at risk.