'Something has to be done': East Riverside residents upset with illegal fishing

A group of east Windsor residents near Blue Heron Park is worried a lack of bylaw enforcement is threatening the natural atmosphere intended for the area.

The concerned residents claim teenagers are continuously ignoring by-law signs that say ‘No Fishing’, adding the repeat offenders are ruining the biodiversity of the pond area by leaving fishing lures and lines in the water, killing animals.

“Hooks are getting in the birds, the turtles,” Lynn Wills told Ward 7 councillor Jeewen Gill Tuesday morning. “We have dogs crossing that bridge that have got hooks in them! So, we need enforcement of that bylaw, the no-fishing bylaw. It's just appalling what has happened in the last few years.”

"Something has to be done,” Steve Miernicki, a resident of the area said during an impromptu virtual ‘Zoom’ town hall hosted by Gill for area residents Tuesday, after the latest provincial shutdown altered plans to hear concerns in person at the park.

Miernicki said the pond needed more signage, as what’s already posted is a bit unclear.

The residents say Windsor by-law enforcement and police are aware of the matter but only issue warnings.

“The bylaw clearly says that this is a residential area. It’s not for recreation,” said Wills. “Until we start getting people actually fined, I don’t think they’re going to respect the bylaw.”

James Chacko, senior manager of parks for the City of Windsor told residents that warning signs against fishing and littering had been installed within in the last year, along with several garbage cans.

“The parks department is just as frustrated with people who don’t follow the rules and litter just as much as the residents,” he said.

Gill told those in attendance that he would arrange a future meeting and encouraged all with concerns to contact 311 so that their issue can be properly documented.

“We will try our best to do the things as it allows us financially and physically and we will get in touch with police and by-law officers at another meeting and hopefully by that timeframe everybody can enjoy,” he said.