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Federal funding paves way for Ojibway National Urban Park

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Millions of dollars earmarked in Tuesday’s federal budget should allow the dream of Ojibway National Urban Park to become a reality.

The budget proposes $36.1 million over five years to kick-start the park and $4.6 million per year to keep it going.

“It’s big money,” Windsor-Tecumseh MP Irek Kusmierczyk said.

“It’s a big commitment and what it means is we will have Ojibway national urban park by next summer, which is incredible.”

Kusmierczyk said details like park boundaries and governance still need to be worked out, but that Parks Canada will get the money needed to make it happen.

In March, Caldwell First Nation signed a memorandum of understanding with the agency to explore joint governance of the park.

Chief Mary Duckworth said the funding was welcome news.

People are seen walking on the Ojibway Trail on April 16, 2024. (Travis Fortnum/CTV News Windsor)Sentiments were echoed by other stakeholders, like grassroots advocacy group Friends of Ojibway Prairie.

“It’s fantastic. It’s so exciting,” said Mike Fisher, chair of the group. “When you see that investment, it gives that great sense that this is happening. This is coming to fruition.”

Fisher has been an “official” friend of the park sine 2016, but work towards the National Urban Park designation started years before that.

Kusmierczyk said it’s because of advocates like Fisher and Windsor West MP Brian Masse, the wish looks to be coming true.

“When you’ve got champions like Brian Masse, who’s been fighting for years, this is what happens,” said Kusmierczyk 

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