Ojibway Shores property secured for future national urban park in Windsor

AM800-News-Ojibway Shores

The creation of a national urban park in Windsor is one step closer to reality.

The federal government has secured the Ojibway Shores property with Transport Canada signing an agreement Thursday with Parks Canada. The agreement will see the Windsor Port Authority transfer the 33 acres of land over to Parks Canada for the eventual 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 land they can purchase that will suit their needs. 

Irek Kusmierczyk, Windsor-Tecumseh Liberal M-P, told AM800's The Shift with Patty Handysides that Ojibway shores is such a critical piece of land.

"The 33 acres there are just such a unique parcel of land, the variety of species there, both plants and animals," he says. "The fact that it's the last vestige, the last piece of natural habitat along the Detroit River, we just knew we had to protect it forever."

Kusmierczyk says the Ojibway Shores land was slated for development just ten years ago but so many fought to protect it.

The proposed Ojibway National Urban Park would ultimately connect Ojibway Shores, Ojibway Park, the Spring Garden Natural Area, Black Oak Heritage Park, the Tallgrass Prairie Park, and Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve - forming a 900 acre park.

Kusmierczyk calls the announcement just another big step toward getting an Ojibway National Urban Park.

"We are all just building toward that final day when we're going to be able to announce the actual creation and existence of an Ojibway National Urban Park. But we are well, well underway and on that path," he adds.

In February 2022, Parks Canada announced nearly $600,000 in funding for a 'Windsor Urban Park Assessment.' The funding from Parks Canada for the City of Windsor is being used conduct an assessment of the area and its unique characteristics as part of work to establish a national urban park.

In August 2021, Parks Canada launched a new program to support the creation of a network of national urban parks. National urban parks will contribute to conservation goals, provide access to nature for major population centres, and contribute to reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.

Parks Canada and the City of Windsor signed a statement of collaboration indicating their intent to work together for the public good by conducting a dialogue around the feasibility of the potential designation of a national urban park at the Ojibway Prairie Complex, and potentially other surrounding nature areas.