VIDEO: Options to Protect Ojibway Species at Risk Moved to 2020 Budget

am800-news-ojibway-nature-centre

It'll be status quo for now along Matchette and Malden Rd. in the Ojibway Prairie Complex.

Seasonal closures of both roads to protect migrating animals were discussed at length Monday night with council ultimately deciding to keep the roads open, but to investigate permanent solutions during 2020 budget deliberations.

Councillor Kieran McKenzie made the motion to include the issue in next year's capital projects.

He says, while the road closures were denied, council is making progress.

"I think that we've advanced the dialog with respect to what it is that needs to happen moving forward to protect these species at risk through the Ojibway corridor. It was another opportunity for us to talk about wildlife preservation, wildlife protection and what it is and how it is that we can manage those interactions between human beings and species at risk."

McKenzie says council isn't just spinning its wheels.

"Yes, we had a three hour debate about an issue that's previously been debated. For those that think we didn't move the needle anywhere, I would challenge that. We had a good conversation about what we need to do to protect species at risk in this community and we'll see what happens at budget time when we have the opportunity to consider some capital projects."

am800-news-kieran-mckenzie-october-2018

Ward 9 Councillor Kieran McKenzie speaks to AM800's Teresinha Medeiros on municipal election night, October 22, 2018 (Selina McCallum / AM800 News)

He says he's confident the new council will handle the matter differently.

"I was very heartened by the comments of my colleagues. I detected that there was unanimity around the notion that we need to do something to deal with species at risk. Am I confident? Yes, I am. I'd be very surprised if there was nothing that we decided to move forward with in the 2020 capital budget."

Fred Francis is the councillor for the ward and says many business owners along Malden spoke out against the closure.

"They were scared and they had customers coming to them and saying "When is your business going to close?" because the road is going to be closed. What we discuss here has weight regardless if we move it or not. I think the motion put forward by councillor McKenzie was a very balanced and well-reasoned one and certainly one I supported."

He says something needs to be done, it's just a matter of what.

"Everyone around the council table wants to protect the environment and wants to protect species at risk. However, there has to be a balance. We also have to understand that there's neighbourhoods, that there's quality of life and businesses. The appropriate thing to do is find the appropriate balance and sometimes that's difficult to see what it is."

AM800-NEWS-Windsor-City-Council-2019-Fred-Francis

Windsor's Ward 1 councillor Fred Francis at a council meeting on December 17, 2018 (Photo by AM800's Zander Broeckel)

Francis says he's looking forward to hearing what administration comes up with come budget time.

"I'm fully prepared to support any investment in Ward 1. It's just a question of competing priorities. It's not always easy, there's not an unlimited amount of resources, but people expect us to do it and that's why we have those 12-hour, marathon budget sessions."

As part of McKenzie's motion, the city will also pursue funding help from the federal and provincial government as well as the Town of LaSalle for solutions like eco-passages and traffic calming measures.