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Is the Ambassador Bridge owner purposely turning Windsor’s Indian Road residential district into a slum?

 

June 2018

The Indian Road District of Olde Sandwich Town in Windsor, Ontario, has long lived in the shadow of the Ambassador Bridge, the longest international bridge, separating Windsor from Detroit, Michigan.  It’s been no secret that the neighbourhood has been living on borrowed time, but now what’s left of the once tree-lined neighbourhood has been turned into a slum according to a recently dismissed $10 million lawsuit filed by the remaining residents against the bridge’s owner.

Billionaire Matty Moroun’s Canadian Transport Company owns the Canadian side of the bridge, while his other company, Detroit International Bridge Company, owns the American side.

Since the late 1990s, plans to twin the Ambassador Bridge have led to the Canadian Transport Company buying up properties along Indian Road, Edison Street, Felix Avenue and Rosedale Avenue.  A large number of the  of the homes bought up have been demolished since the fall of 2017, but this was only after an order from the City of Windsor to repair the 120 boarded-up homes that had been left to deteriorate, some for over a decade, creating a slum neighbourhood.

The claim was Moroun’s company is purposely trying to devalue the properties in the neighbourhood, both monetarily and by making it undesirable for the residents to stay.  Moroun similarly sued the City of Windsor for failure to issue demolition permits for the homes out of fear that the entire neighbourhood would be wiped out of existence for the bridge expansion.

Demolition permits were eventually granted by the federal government, who also approved Moroun’s permit request for the bridge twinning. Approximately 2.5 million trucks cross Ambassador Bridge each year, transporting over $120 billion in goods between Canada and the United States.

Residents of Olde Sandwich Town had hoped that the federal government’s desire to build a publicly-owned bridge, the Gordie Howe International Bridge, 4 kilometres to the west, would make the Ambassador Bridge expansion unnecessary.

While both bridges are desperately needed to handle the large volume of traffic heading across the border, it’s sad to see a neighbourhood where family memories were made disappear in the name of progress.

 

 

Sources:  http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/court-rules-indian-road-homeowners-not-entitled-to-compensation-from-bridge-company#link_time=1521656354, http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/demolition-begins-on-indian-road-homes-owned-by-ambassador-bridge, http://themediaplex.com/dust-in-the-wind-of-change, http://windsorstar.com/news/local-news/moroun-files-lawsuit-against-city-of-windsor

About the author

Bruce Forsyth

Bruce Forsyth served in the Royal Canadian Navy Reserve for 13 years (1987-2000). He served with units in Toronto, Hamilton & Windsor and worked or trained at CFB Esquimalt, CFB Halifax, CFB Petawawa, CFB Kingston, CFB Toronto, Camp Borden, The Burwash Training Area and LFCA Training Centre Meaford.

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