Ojibway Parkway Eco-Bridge Project Going to City Budget Talks

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An eco-bridge spanning Ojibway Parkway is on the agenda for Windsor's 2020 budget deliberations.

Council has agreed to discuss the project, designed  to protect endangered and at-risk species.

The Windsor-Detroit Bridge Authority is providing $1.5-million in seed money with the city on the hook for the remainder of the project, although that cost is not yet known.

Tom Henderson with the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup's Public Advisory Committee, hopes council finds the money during budget time.

"We're just crossing our fingers in hope that the tree-huggers around the town can be made happy with all this and, of course, the biggest winners will be endangered species like the Eastern Fox Snake, toads, turtles. The deer will be able to get across it. It's a good project and I hope they can find the money," he says.

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Tom Henderson with the Detroit River Canadian Cleanup's Public Advisory Committee seen at a Windsor Council meeting on October 7, 2019 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Henderson says Windsor has a chance to be a leader with a project like this.

"This would be an above grade eco-bridge spanning Ojibway Parkway and the ETR tracks," he says. "It's a big project, but the bridge authority has seeded up $1.5-million. The bridge authority didn't have to provide seed money, but they did. So we hope that city council will take it from there."

The crossing is being considered after city council rejected a request for seasonal closures of Matchette Rd. and Malden Rd. to protect migrating animals from vehicles using the roads.

If the eco-bridge is given the go ahead, it would connect Black Oak Heritage Park with the Ojibway Prairie Complex providing a safe passage for local wildlife.

Henderson says eco-bridges are being used elsewhere and they're working.

"There are many out in Banff. They have deer, grizzly bear, lynx, wolverine, it's fantastic," he says. "To me, that's the Cadillac of eco-passage crossings. You hope for what you can get. The main thing is to be in the forefront, get them thinking about it and we'll be back."

Similar crossings built in Alberta's Banff National Park range in cost from $2-million to $4-million.