MASSE URGES FEDERAL TRANSPORT MINISTER TO CONSIDER CONTRACTOR PROPOSAL FOR EXCESS FILL ON BRIDGE PLAZA AND USE SAVINGS TO ACQUIRE OJIBWAY SHORES

Implementing Proposal Could Resolve Several Issues All at Once

 [WINDSOR] For weeks Brian Masse M.P. (Windsor West) NDP Critic for the Canada-US Border has been working towards brokering a deal that could solve the excess fill issue from the construction of the Herb Gray Parkway.  In addition, the potential savings incurred by implementing this solution could provide the Federal government with the funds necessary to purchase the Ojibway Shores property from the Windsor Port Authority.

After meeting with Amico Infrastructures Inc. president Dominic Amicone and working with environmental groups in the community Masse brought a proposal forward to Transport Minister Denis Lebel that seeks to use excess fill material from the Parkway to meet the grade requirements of the Customs Plaza of the new crossing connecting Windsor/Detroit.

As the Parkway project has continued to move forward the question of where to place the excess fill material excavated as a result of the cut and cover tunnel design approach has become a growing issue.  Amico’s proposal could solve several problems if viable.

“If using the excess fill material from the Parkway project to the site of the customs plaza of the new crossing is feasible I think we have a solution here that could demonstrate responsible and sensible infrastructure development.  It’s my understanding that the Parkway is generating almost an equal amount of excess fill to meet the grade requirements of the new Customs plaza of the new crossing.  The potential savings of implementing this proposal is over $1M.” 

Masse believes the savings incurred by the government could be used to acquire the Ojibway Shores property owned by the Windsor Port Authority (WPA).  Recently the WPA indicated its willingness to sell Ojibway Shores located immediately adjacent to the site of the new bridge plaza to a buyer interested in preserving it as a natural heritage site.  The WPA pegs the value of the property in the neighbourhood of $1M.

Masse continued: “If Amico’s proposal is viable the Federal Government could use the savings to acquire Ojibway Shores at virtually 0 cost.  This solves the Parkway excess fill material issue, the question of the preservation of Ojibway Shores and begins the process of preparing the bridge plaza for construction.  The potential benefits of this proposal are enormous and have to be taken seriously by the government.”

Masse elaborated on some of the potential benefits of the Amico proposal: ”We could eliminate the need for an additional 60 000 dump truck trips from the Parkway to various destinations across the province to find a home for fill material that we will need right next to the Parkway very shortly.  This proposal could reduce Greenhouse gas emissions, increase public safety, save the government money and make the overall project more attractive to potential concessionaires.  The Minister needs to take a serious look at this proposal and should do so immediately.”

In developing this plan Masse consulted with local environmental organizations in the community prior to bringing this proposal forward to the Minister.

Mark Bartlett sits on the Environment Committees of the Windsor and District Labour Council and CAW local 444 added: “We’ve been working with Brian on this issue for weeks to ensure that Amico’s proposal will be a net benefit for the environment and to protect Ojibway Shores.  Amico’s proposal has merit and should be investigated more thoroughly to determine if it can work and if by implementing this we are able to generate the funds necessary to acquire Ojibway Shores and ensure its preservation as a natural heritage site I am enthusiastically behind it.”