The creation of a national urban park in Windsor is one step closer to reality.
The federal government has secured the Ojibway Shores property and Transport Canada signed an agreement with Parks Canada on Thursday. The deal will see the Windsor Port Authority transfer the 33 acres of land to Parks Canada for possible inclusion in an Ojibway National Urban Park.
The land swap will also see Parks Canada provide financial support to the Windsor Port Authority to help them identify lands they can purchase that will meet their needs.
Irek Kusmierczyk, Liberal MP for Windsor-Tecumseh, told AM800’s The Shift with Patty Handysides that the Ojibwa shores are such a critical piece of land.
“The 33 acres that there are there is a unique piece of land, the variety of species that are there, both plants and animals,” he says. “The fact that this is the last remnant, the last piece of natural habitat along the Detroit River, we just knew we had to protect it forever.”
Kusmierczyk says the land of Ojibway Shores was supposed to be developed just a decade ago, but so many people fought to protect it.
The proposed Ojibway National Urban Park would ultimately connect Ojibway Shores, Ojibway Park, Spring Garden Natural Area, Black Oak Heritage Park, Tallgrass Prairie Park, and Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Preserve – forming a 900-acre park.
Kusmierczyk calls the announcement another big step toward getting an Ojibway National Urban Park.
“We are only moving towards that final day when we can announce the creation and existence of an Ojibway National Urban Park. But we are well advanced and on this path,” he adds.
In February 2022, Parks Canada announced nearly $600,000 in funding for a “Windsor Urban Park Assessment”. Parks Canada funding for the City of Windsor is being used to conduct an assessment of the area and its unique features as part of work to create a national urban park.
In August 2021, Parks Canada launched a new program to support the creation of a system of national urban parks. National urban parks will contribute to conservation goals, provide access to nature in key population centers and contribute to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Parks Canada and the City of Windsor have signed a Statement of Collaboration indicating their intent to work together for the public good by leading a dialogue on the feasibility of potential National Urban Park designation at the Ojibway Prairie Complex, and potentially other surrounding natural areas.