Windsor council votes against road closures to protect species at risk, will study alternatives
Rich Garton, CTV Windsor
Published Monday, September 9, 2019 11:08PM EDT
Last Updated Tuesday, September 10, 2019 6:47PM EDT
After three hours of debate, council voted against temporarily closing two major roads in favour of offsetting road strikes of locally endangered species during migration season.
But it is moving forward on doing something as soon as budget time, 2020.
Ward 9 coun. Kieran McKenzie put forward a motion for the city to develop a capital project to address road mortality through the Ojibway corridor for consideration during next year’s budget deliberations.
“I detected there was unanimity around the notion that we need to do something to deal with species at risk through the Ojibway corridor,” says McKenzie. “I’d be very surprised if there was nothing we decided to move forward with in the 2020 capital budget process.”
The issue came to the fore when local biologist reported nearly 1,243 dead snakes were been found between 2015 and 2018 on are roadways and 72 per cent of those were located on Matchette and Malden Roads.
Two weeks ago, Coun. Chris Holt asked for the issue to be deferred so council could investigate closing just one of the two roads, Malden Road.
A number of delegates spoke to the issue Monday night, both for and against the closure of either of these roads. Some of the most vocal opponents of closing Malden Road were business owners – of which there are six who would have been directly affected by any road closure. 105 homes also fall within the proposed closure zone, where in a report to council, staff indicated closing Malden would negatively affect access to emergency services.
Ward 1 coun. Fred Francis says he’s happy common sense prevailed.
“I’m happy the residents on Matchette and Malden and the businesses owners you heard from tonight are certainly relieved, so it was a good night,” Francis says. “That’s our job and that’s what the residents elect us to do is to find the appropriate balance, that doesn’t affect their lives negatively, but enhances the quality of life, not only for the environment and species at risk but also the people who live in these neighbourhoods.”