Sandwich Towne businesses and MP do not want bridge permit renewed

The Ambassador Bridge permit to build a second span expires at the end of the month. Windsor West MP Brian Masse does not want the federal government to renew it.

Instead, he wants residents and business owners to receive financial assistance from Ottawa to revitalize the community.

“The federal government has acknowledged that its executive order froze the area for five years and caused problems here, including condemned homes and the spread of this problem to the community,” Masse said. “There must be compensation for this.”

The 2017 decree authorized the construction of a second bridge span in five years. The permit also included conditions relating to safety, security and public impact consultations. The license expires on August 31, 2022.

Windsor West MP Brian Masse does not want the federal government to reapply for a permit to build a second span on the Ambassador Bridge. Instead, he wants funds to be invested in the community of Sandwich Towne. (Jennifer La Grassa/CBC)

Mary Ann Cuderman, business owner and president of the BIA of Olde Sandwich Towne, is also unhappy with the federal government and the operators of the Ambassador Bridge over the construction of the second span.

“They had all these things they were supposed to do to make this happen,” Cuderman said. “They turned five and did nothing with it.”

Masse also heard angry comments from local residents and other business owners.

“It takes away opportunities for new business, new places to live and community growth,” he said. “It has a major socio-economic effect and it cannot be underestimated.”

Mary Ann Cuderman owns a business in Sandwich Towne and is President of the Olde Sandwich Towne BIA. She wants the funds from the bridge not to go to Ottawa, but to the community of Sandwich. (Dale Molnar/CBC)

In an emailed statement to CBC News, Dan Stamper, president of the Detroit International Bridge Company (DIBC), said the company has no plans to reapply for the permit. Stamper said the permit filed by Ottawa requires the demolition of the current span that is in place, and the DIBC will not seek a new permit until the two spans can remain.

The comments from both sides of the border come as completion of the Gordie Howe International Bridge has been pushed back to April 2025.

Sandwich Towne business owners are looking for other community benefits if construction of the new border crossing is delayed.

“If the bridge is going to be here for 100 years, we should have compensation for it for the next 100 years,” Cuderman said. “If there are fees because they won’t be built on time, none of that money should go back to the federal government.”


Back to top button