Ojibway National Urban Park BMP under debate

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Windsor West MP Brian Masse’s private member’s bill to create the Ojibway National Urban Park was first debated on Monday.

“The introduction of this bill to create Ojibway National Park is the culmination of years, if not decades, of work by many residents of this region who are fighting to protect this unique ecosystem in one of most developed areas of the country. It was a real privilege and an honor to be the one who finally introduced the bill in the House of Commons that so many locally, nationally and internationally want to see become law and that this environmental gem be protected forever.” , Masse said.

The proposed Ojibway National Urban Park (NUP) would include Ojibway Park, Spring Garden Natural Area, Black Oak Heritage Park, Tallgrass Prairie Park, Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Preserve and Ojibway Shores. These parcels of land are currently owned by different levels of government, and connecting them through the national urban park would give stewardship of the land to Parks Canada.

“This is the final piece of the puzzle to make this park a reality. I am honored to have been able to debate this bill and I thank my colleagues from all parties for their support. All these years of work by so many of people across this city and this country,” Masse said.

The second hour of debate and voting at second reading will take place in late May or early June.

In the meantime, Parks Canada is currently negotiating with several current landowners to establish a national urban park in the same area through a process introduced in August.

Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk said the bill undermines that process.

“Bill C-248 introduces a flawed process that is not based on public consultation and would instead undermine the genuine, organic relationship and engagement necessary for the successful creation of a new urban park,” Kusmierczyk said.

He said this bill assumes a single governance model, Parks Canada, while the ongoing process is evaluating multiple models that may be more appropriate.

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