Ojibway Shores future discussed at public meeting tonight
Windsor residents on Wednesday night will have their say about an issue that has angered many in the environmental community.
The Windsor Port Authority plans to level a portion of land on Ojibway Shores to make way for eventual development.
Before the authority acts, it's releasing a year's worth of research about the area and asking for public input.
The report will detail findings about endangered and species-at-risk plants and animals
Caleb Farrugia will be attending and hopes the Port Authority thinks twice about clear-cutting Objiway Shores.
"I don't know if they fully understand the biodiversity of the area," he said. "I'm hoping they leave with a really great education from the local activists and environmentalists, but not only that, but concerned citizens."
Environmentalists like Farrugia say the controversial piece of land is one of the last undeveloped areas along the riverfront.
Mark Bartlett, the community environment rep for CAW Local 444, said clear-cutting and developing the area would be "devastating" to local ecosystems.
"It's the last natural shoreline in Windsor. It's linkage for wildlife from the Detroit River to Ojibway Park," he said.
The plot of land is approximately 12.9 hectares or 32 acres in size and abuts Black Oak Park. It's very near the proposed plaza that will service a new Detroit River international crossing once it's constructed and links west Windsor to the Delray community of Detroit.
The plan is to eventually develop the area, but only after clean fill from the Herb Gray Parkway is trucked in to raise the land above the flood plain. The work is to be completed by fall of 2013.
In the short term, the port authority said the cleared land would be used to store materials used by companies working on the parkway.
The port authority claims the move will create jobs in Windsor.
But the Citizens Environment Alliance is fighting the plan. Co-ordinator Derek Coronado says it's wrong to think of creating jobs and protecting the environment as opposites.
"We think it's a false dichotomy; it's not the question to ask. The question is, how do we create a sustainable environment that includes sustainable and healthy jobs for folks who live in the community?" he said. "You can't have one or the other; they have to be linked."
There is a public meeting Wednesday night at Mackenzie Hall at 6:30 p.m.