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"Let’s protect a real green link," Environmentalists Urge

A “real green link” for Windsor would be realized if the last remaining stretch of natural shoreline on the Detroit River was protected, Essex County Field Naturalists’ Club president Phil Roberts said Tuesday.

By The Windsor Star, May 13, 2008

WINDSOR -- A “real green link” for Windsor would be realized if the last remaining stretch of natural shoreline on the Detroit River was protected, Essex County Field Naturalists’ Club president Phil Roberts said Tuesday.

While the city promotes its GreenLink border solution, Roberts wants people to think about a natural link that could be created from Huron Church Road to the Detroit River if land known as Ojibway Shores was protected and restored.

“Let’s protect a real green link.”

Roberts is expected to talk the proposal May 24 as part of the Citizens Environment Alliance’s SmogFest.

Roberts said there is already a green link that includes the Spring Garden natural area, the Ojibway prairie lands owned by the city and province, and the city’s Black Oak Heritage Park. All that’s missing is the land along the Detroit River that is occupied by the Windsor Port Authority and is owned by the federal government.

“The exciting part is it would protect the last undeveloped shoreline on the Canadian side.”

Islands of green eventually stagnate, Roberts said. Linking natural areas would allow the movement of animals and genetic information.

Derek Coronado, the Citizens Environment Alliance’s research and policy co-ordinator, said the alliance has talked to the federal government about protecting Ojibway Shores and wants to keep pushing the idea.

He said the land, which is about 26 acres and is less than a kilometre long at the shoreline, may be adjacent to a plaza for the federal government’s bridge plan.

The Citizens Environment Alliance had argued at first for looking at other modes of transportation to delay the need for another border crossing. Now, depending on what border plan is built, the alliance will be pushing to mitigate the impact on natural areas, he said.

“The city talks a lot about redefining itself and branding itself and that’s PR,” Coronado said. “Here is an actual means where the city can do something unique in protecting such rare lands and linking these lands and having essentially within its urban boundaries a very significant botanical showpiece.”

Roberts’ talk is part of a May 24 SmogFest event that begins at noon at the Windsor Public Library in the lower level. A 20-minute film called The Story of Stuff will also be shown.

SmogFest runs until the end of May. The Citizens Environment Alliance has been running SmogFest for seven years in response to Windsor being called the smog capital of Canada.

Other events include an art exhibition and silent auction at the Milk Coffee Bar, 68 University Ave. W. until May 30. The SmogFest party is May 23 at 7:30 p.m. at the Artcite Gallery on University Avenue West.

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