Friday, August 6, 2010

Save Ojibway!!!

[Note: please see the link at the bottom of this page to send a letter to politicians who might be able to stop this from proceding]

To my great sadness, I read this morning's paper to find out that development in West Windsor could effect/degrade one of the most beautiful natural areas in Essex County.

I don't understand why companies need 'green fields' to build on when there are so many 'brown fields' to chose from. Seriously, why doesn't COCO Paving build a big-box chain in Downtown Windsor? The air in West Windsor Stinks, nobody would want to go shopping with the smell of Detroit's Zug Island and Chemical Value due West, 1km with a predominant westerly wind. This is the only place in the city/county that you might see a Red Bellied Woodpecker. The only place in the city to see an Eastern Bluebird. In fact, today I saw a Red-Headed Woodpecker at Ojibway. Yes, this last bird is a species of concern because its population is dropping off so fast.

Where is the outrage? Where is the protest? Well... not too many people care. They are too busy trying to scratch out a living, too busy trying buy the latest product being advertised on TV promissing to make you happier and the envy of everyone else. People also don't know much about ecology so ignorance plays a part.

SAVE OJIBWAY Youtube Video:

The Windsor Star Article is at the following URL, but I will post the text below.

LaSalle big box OMB fight delayed

 By Dave Battagello, The Windsor StarAugust 6, 2010
Nancy Pancheshan checks out some rare plants near the proposed big box development behind the Windsor Raceway on Matchette Rd. The project has faced a major hurdle after some researchers have found 90 rare plants types growing in the area. Photograph by: Dan Janisse,
 Coco Paving has been granted an indefinite adjournment in the Ontario Municipal Board fight to build a big box retail outlet on lands it owns next to Windsor Raceway after researchers discovered endangered plants and species on the proposed site.
The OMB delay could last up to two years while the company completes its own studies of species at risk and explores mitigation measures on the 47-acre location at Matchette Road and Sprucewood Avenue.
The property is flanked to the north and east by protected Ojibway park lands.
A residents’ group opposing the development hopes the delay will open the door for an agreement with the landowner to protect the lands.
“We’ve got a real opportunity in front of us to expand protection of an endangered ecosystem,” says Nancy Pancheshan, leader of Save Ojibway. “We are at a point where we can make the right choice.
“We will look to see if it’s possible, but it will take a lot of hurdles to jump. It will rely heavily on Coco Paving and their choice whether to proceed or preserve what they have.”
“You can’t put a price on endangered ecosystems — once it’s gone, it can’t be replaced.”
The proposed shopping centre, located on the edge of the city’s border with LaSalle, would be anchored by four big box stores and would create more than 1,000 retail jobs, according to the developer. Along with the residents’ group, the Town of LaSalle has fought the plan out of traffic fears and concerns over the impact on its nearby Malden Road shopping area.

A message left with Coco Paving’s head office in Toronto was not returned.
University of Michigan researcher Anton Reznicek studied the site July 29 when he found 90 samples of two endangered plant species — dense blazing star and willowleaf aster. He also located numerous other rare plants not on the species-at-risk list, he said.

David Mifsud, a Michigan herpetologist and wetland scientist, also visited the site and discovered the endangered eastern foxsnake and Butler’s garter snake.

Habitat for the rare Blanding’s turtle, which resides in the nearby Ojibway Prairie, was also found on the site.
Reznicek had expected to find much of the grounds “trashed and bulldozed,” but said Thursday that was not the case.

“Some of the land was greatly abused, but there was a lot still there that has survived,” he said.
He listed other rare tall grasses — big bluestem, Indian grass and dominant goldenrod — were also found.
“It’s not just the odd survivor,” said the curator of vascular plants for the university in Ann Arbor. “There is still a largely coherent community of plants. That’s important because it becomes a habitat for other organisms.”
Mifsud would not comment Thursday on his findings.

Reznicek called the protected Ojibway prairie a “huge treasure for Canada” and said he hopes supporters will get on the bandwagon to protect the site and find a different location if a big box outlet is desired.
“Windsor has really been on the forefront on protecting prairies with Ojibway and Spring Garden,” he said. “You can’t just think of this plot of 30 acres, say ‘wreck that’ and it doesn’t affect anything around. Plants and animals, move, walk and fly. When you start putting in roads, big stores and enormous parking lots you will have runoffs in the middle of this protected ecosystem that will cause problems.”

The Ministry of Natural Resources plans to conduct its own species-at-risk study of the site before the end of the year and provide the findings to all parties involved in the OMB hearing, said Emmilia Kuisma, acting district strategic officer for the ministry’s regional office in Aylmer.

“We will make an assessment on what type species are there,” she said. “It’s a proposal and in the planning process and that’s why it’s at OMB. We will provide as much information as we can to help the board make its decision.”

The city’s legal department did not respond to a request for comment on the adjournment.
LaSalle consented to the adjournment, said Larry Silani, the town’s director of planning.
“There is a process, the developer identified further work to do, asked for adjournment and we agreed to that,” he said. “We have no comment beyond that and will let the process unfold.”
With a multitude of shopping centres available in the Windsor area on Walker Road, Manning Road and outlet mall on Talbot Road, there is little need for another big box outlet, said Pancheshan, who also pointed to a nearly 25 per cent commercial vacancy rate in the city.

“We have so little left of tall grass and to find samples on this site is exciting,” she said. “It’s a matter of doing the right thing — to some how compensate the landowners so this area gets protected.


A question to any of the readers of this blog posting: What can we do to stop this?

Good Birding,


  1. Hey Dwayne,
    I've been following your blog for a bit being a novice birder myself. As for Ojibway, you can download petitions directly from the Save Ojibway site and have family, friends, co-workers, etc sign and then you can mail them in. You can also write your MP, and the Ministry of Natural Resources It saddens me greatly that this beautiful green space could even be up for a project like this.

    Keep up the great blog and happy birding!


  2. Crystal, Thanks for the comment, and thanks for checking out my blog! I have a feeling this project will not go through. I hope to get some insight from some of the main Ojibway staff soon.

    I feel stupid for not really knowing much about this until now.



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