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The protected property in the Ojibway complex under the ownership of the provincial government has prompted local MPP Percy Hatfield to request its transfer to the federal government to create a national urban park in Windsor.

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The 230-acre Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Reserve is under the management of the Ontario Ministry of the Environment.

Hatfield said Thursday that he has had recent discussions and exchanged emails with MPP within the Ford government and Environment Minister Dave Piccini, encouraging them to ensure that the protected site is in the right hands under the federal government so that it will soon be can finalize a national urban park at the local level.

A similar transfer of provincial ownership was needed several years ago in Toronto to create Rouge National Urban Park, he said.

If the province joins in to cooperate, this can happen.

A property swap is the most likely option, suggesting that a federally owned park could be swapped for the provincially owned nature preserve in Windsor, Hatfield said.

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“What we need from the province is no different than what was required when Rouge National Urban Park was established in Toronto six years ago,” Hatfield said. “We need the province to reach an agreement with Ottawa and create the Ojibway National Urban Park.”

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A pond in the Spring Garden Natural Area, part of the Ojibway Prairie Complex, is seen on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021.
A pond in the Spring Garden Natural Area, part of the Ojibway Prairie Complex, is seen on Thursday, Nov. 18, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

Hatfield raised the issue Wednesday in the Ontario legislature.

“The federal government has stepped in, the City of Windsor stands behind it, the Essex Region Conservation Authority and all the area’s environmental and natural heritage groups,” he said during a statement by a member in Queen’s Park. .

“This nature reserve is necessary as a patchwork quilt, so to speak, that connects with other foci of natural areas. This concept has been around for 20 years. Now that the feds are on board, it really depends on the province. “

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The proposed national urban park in Windsor, long touted by local Congressman Brian Masse (NDP – Windsor-West), would include approximately 900 acres within the Ojibway Complex stretching from the Detroit River to the east that includes Ojibway Shores, Ojibway Tom Joy Woods, Spring Garden Natural Area, Black Oak Heritage Park, Ojibway Prairie Provincial Nature Preserve, and Oakwood Bush.

“This can happen,” Hatfield said. “It’s just a matter of transferring the (Ojibway reservation) and everyone keeping their word at the federal level. We have a great opportunity to put together these 900 acres. I just think it is very important for the environment, clean air and the protection of the endangered species that are there ”.

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Hatfield also cited the importance of creating a large green space that can in perpetuity become a signature focal point at the foot of the Gordie Howe International Bridge for anyone entering or leaving Canada.

“They will be able to look down and see this green belt and all this free land,” he said. “Putting an iron ring around the Ojibway area and creating a national urban park I think is very important for our children and grandchildren.

“It has the federal government, the city, local environmental groups and everyone seemingly pulling in the same direction on this. If the province joins in cooperating, this can happen ”.

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The Spring Garden Natural Area, part of the Ojibway Prairie Complex, will be seen on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
The Spring Garden Natural Area, part of the Ojibway Prairie Complex, will be seen on Thursday, November 18, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star
The Spring Garden Natural Area, part of the Ojibway Prairie Complex, will be seen on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
The Spring Garden Natural Area, part of the Ojibway Prairie Complex, will be seen on Thursday, November 18, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star
The Spring Garden Natural Area, part of the Ojibway Prairie Complex, will be seen on Thursday, November 18, 2021.
The Spring Garden Natural Area, part of the Ojibway Prairie Complex, will be seen on Thursday, November 18, 2021. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

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