After eights years of legal battles, design and construction could start within months on a new Big Box centre next door to Ojibway park lands, (In Windsor, Ontario Canada).
The Big Box project at the corner of Matchette Road and Sprucewood Avenue has been delayed since 2007 following city council’s approval. The citizens group Save Ojibway fought to legally stop the proposed 450,000-square-foot shopping centre over the potential environmental impact to nearby protected lands.
But an Ontario Municipal Board ruling released Monday dismissed the group’s appeal giving the Coco Group the right to proceed after site plan approval from the city.
Early plans for the Big Box centre call for three or four major anchor tenants inside a commercial plaza that would include several smaller retail outlets.
An announcement on potential tenants of the shopping plaza remains contingent on further negotiations.
The shopping centre will be located across the street from the protectedOjibway Prairie Nature Reserve and Tallgrass Prairie. It will be next door to the Ojibway Nature Centre.
Save Ojibway wanted the vacant lands owned by Coco preserved and attached to the already protected lands, which include several species at risk.
Despite losing the OMB challenge, the group’s leader Nancy Pancheshan said efforts to stop the project will continue.
She said the next step isto pressure political leaders and government ministries to ensure the Ojibway lands remain protected.
“The developer and city might have called this a victory, but the reality is all of Windsor is losing,” Pancheshan said. “There are over 4,000 plant and species — 18 that are endangered that are still threatened.”
Some local critics have said the big box project isn’t needed because of the high volume of vacant commercial space already in Windsor.
Ojibway, Ojibway Prarie, Big Box, Change.org, OMB, Native Species, Endangered Species, Coco, Coco Development, City of Windsor, Mayor Drew Dilkens, City Council, Ojibway Nature Reserve