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Windsor most neglected natural asset, Peche Island, has lost more than 20 per cent of its land mass since 1965 and will in time become just a memory unless action is taken to halt its rapid erosion.

Thankfully, the $1 million lifeline council lobbed at this unique city park in the recent capital budget, blasted by the usual suspects as a waste of money, is about more than providing a small boat and cleaning up a few overgrown trails so landlocked city residents can commune with nature.

excited about the potential. This could be a win win for everybody, said Jan Wilson, the city parks and recreation czar, of work being done to determine where and how the fill should be placed. The aim, she said, is to back some of the island that has been lost while enhancing fish habitat around the city only real island.

If everything comes together, Wilson believes restoration work on the island, which is now roughly the same size as Jackson Park, could begin in 2020. The Coast Guard needs a place to deposit fill. The island needs fill. So it should be a marriage made in heaven.

The alternative, of course, is to sit back, do nothing, and watch those speedy Detroit River currents carve away the island and send it off downriver, grain by miniscule grain, in the general direction of Sandusky, Ohio.

That would be a miserable fate for an island that Windsor bought from the downloading Mike Harris government in 1999,
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along with some water lots and a small piece of mainland, for a stiff $1.3 million ($1.8 million in today devalued dollars). The city wanted the island for a symbolic one dollar but the tightfisted Harris regime, engaged in its Common Sense Revolution, demanded a far higher price to keep it out of private hands.

Sadly, the city turned out to be almost as neglectful in looking after this remarkable piece of geography as the province had been when the island was easily Ontario most poorly promoted provincial park.

Yes. The city sent crews over from time to time to do basic maintenance and clean up mounds of garbage left behind by slob boaters. But it was mostly out of sight, out of mind.

That changed in the summer of 2016 when Mayor Drew Dilkens went over with a small group to check out the island potential.

He was, in a word, gob smacked, by the quiet beauty of this green, canal laced oasis just downstream from Lake St. Clair and a mere 320 metres a modest Jason Day golf drive the Windsor mainland.

Dilkens already had a Peche Island soft spot. He remembers, as a five or six year old, going by boat to the uninhabited island with his parents for a memorable day that included swimming, exploring and a beach barbecue. me it was Gilligan Island. Just no Mary Ann and no Ginger. city residents, he suspects, haven grasped what an idyllic slice of nature lies just offshore from the Lakeview Marina area.

can possibly realize what it is just by driving by. For 99 per cent of us, there no connection, no feeling of ownership. If you can get people there, they see what we have to save and they buy in. believes the modest pontoon boat, carrying perhaps a dozen passengers and their bicycles, that the city will have in operation this summer will go a long way to opening the eyes of area residents to the gem on our doorstep and the need to preserve it.

Peche Island has dodged a number of goofy development plans over the decades, including proposals for an amusement park,
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housing development and tycoon hideaway.