WINDSOR – Ojibway National Urban Park is one step closer to becoming reality after a motion was passed in the Ontario Legislature today to consider integrating the Ojibway Provincial Prairie Reserve with the adjoining lands to ramp up the process for creating a cohesive national urban park in Windsor-Essex.
“I am thrilled that Ojibway National Urban Park is finally taking shape for the people of Windsor-Essex”, said Lisa Gretzky, NDP MPP for Windsor West. “This has been a truly collaborative project, and I have been privileged to work with community groups and leaders from across the region to keep pushing for this vital urban park in my riding of Windsor West.”
For years, Gretzky has been undertaking extensive community consultations with Windsor City Council, Caldwell First Nation, and various community and local conservation groups to help create Ojibway National Urban Park. She has been working closely with MP Brian Masse (Windsor West), who is currently working to finalize plans for the park at the Federal level. The Ojibway National Urban Park project could receive Federal approval in the new year.
The Ford government has repeatedly stalled the creation of Ojibway National Urban Park, despite widespread community support.
“We’re glad to see the government finally do the right thing after voting down MPP Gretzky’s motion - that Caldwell First Nation were consulted on and supported - last month”, said Chief Mary Duckworth of Caldwell First Nation. “We commend MPP Gretzky’s work on public consultations with community members and organizations. We will continue to work with everyone to get the Ojibway National Urban Park created.”
“While I supported the motion today, I am concerned that the language is not strong enough,” said Gretzky. “My motion would have ensured that the land be permanently transferred, but this motion to ‘integrate’ leaves room for ambiguity. We’ve seen Premier Ford break promises in order to bulldoze the Greenbelt. I will continue monitoring closely to ensure that the same does not happen here. I will also continue to push this government to consult with my community, Caldwell First Nation, local environmental groups, the City of Windsor, and the federal government. I am determined to see our community’s hard work pay off by ensuring that Ojibway National Urban Park becomes a beautiful environmentally protected place for locals and tourists to enjoy for years to come”.