Sandwich Towne businesses, MP do not want bridge permit renewed

·2 min read
A permit for a second span on the Ambassador Bridge expires on August 31, 2022. Stakeholders on both sides of the border are not applying for a new permit, but for different reasons. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)
A permit for a second span on the Ambassador Bridge expires on August 31, 2022. Stakeholders on both sides of the border are not applying for a new permit, but for different reasons. (Dale Molnar/CBC - image credit)

The Ambassador Bridge's 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 recognized their order-in-council froze the area for five years and caused problems here, including the boarded up homes and the extension of this issue to the community," said Masse. "There needs to be compensation for that."

The 2017 order-in-council granted construction of a second bridge span within five years. The permit also had conditions relating to safety, security and public-impact consultations were met. The permit expires on August 31, 2022.

Jennifer La Grassa/CBC
Jennifer La Grassa/CBC

Mary Ann Cuderman, business owner and chair of the Olde Sandwich Towne BIA is also not pleased with the federal government and the operators of the Ambassador Bridge regarding the construction of the second span.

"They had all of these things that they were supposed to do in order to make that happen," said Cuderman. "They've had five years and not done one thing with it."

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

"It takes away opportunities for new business, new places for people to live and the growth of the community," he said. "It has a major socio-economic effect and that can't be underestimated."

Dale Molnar/CBC
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 re-apply for the permit. Stamper said the permit filed by Ottawa requires the demolition of the current span that is in place, and that the DIBC will not apply for a new permit until both spans can remain.

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

Business owners in Sandwich Towne are looking for further 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 some compensation for that over the next 100 years," said Cuderman. "If there is a charge because they are not going to be built on time, any of that money should not go back to the federal government."