Plans to build a new dock in Windsor's west end has alarmed some environmentalists, who are concerned about protecting the Detroit River.

In the coming months, Brighton Beach Aggregates will be placing chunks of concrete into the Detroit River — directly across from Zug Island — to build the dock that is expected to be completed by September.

Company owner, and former Lakeshore town councillor, Francis Kennette says the 79,000-square-foot area needed to build his dock will increase his ability to bring in shipments of construction aggregate.

Francis Kennette

Francis Kennette of Brighton Beach Aggregates is building a new aggregate shipping dock in the Detroit River across from Zug Island. (Meg Roberts/CBC)

To compensate for any interference with fish habitat — the threatened channel darter and endangered northern madtom have been found nearby — Kennette is required by Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans to create a fish habitat in the surrounding area.

Environmental activists, who have been monitoring the area for years, still have concerns.

"If foreign materials are dropped into the river, we don't know what effect that will have on the condition of the river itself," said Tom Henderson, chairman of the public advisory council for the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup.

Federal oversight

Kennette maintains the fish habitat he's constructing will improve the river and allow for an increase in fish. The habitat will benefit fish species beyond the known at-risk species and will eventually be home to others, including walleye, whitefish and bass, he said.

"This will definitely be an improvement to the fish habitat and the general ecosystem," Kennette said.

To move ahead with the dock project, Kennette had to comply with at-risk species regulations overseen by Fisheries and Oceans. Approval was given in January, according to a government spokesperson.

Brighton Beach Aggregates is "authorized to create and enhance fish habitat" in order to "offset or compensate for the loss associated with the infill," wrote Kevin Hill, regional director of communications for Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Hill further clarified that "channel darter were found in close proximity to the site, but not within the footprint of the infill component of this project."