(WINDSOR, ON) – Two activists fighting to preserve the natural heritage of Ojibway Park and Prairie Complex in the face of a proposed big box development. The efforts of Nancy Pancheshan and Anna Lynn Meloche and group calling themselves Friends of Save Ojibway, with over 3,100 members on Facebook, secured an extra 10 acres for the park, but the issue remains of road kill of endangered species on Matchette Road.
Challenging the development at the Ontario Municipal Board over the last number of years resulted in the pair being sued in 2015 by the Coco Group, the proponent of the development, for a total of $875,000 in legal costs. Just recently, the OMB ruled that the two must pay $11,000, split $4,500 and $6,500 respectively.
The OMB inexplicably ordered the costs despite the abundance of case law against such a decision in public interest cases. Judges have been loathe to award costs lest it dissuade advocates from bringing forward issues for the greater good.
On July 18, a supporter of the group, Lisa Valente, commenced a Go Fund Me page to help raise $11,500 to cover the costs to Pancheshan and Meloche. The two women also have their own legal costs to cover in addition to the OMB ruling.
As of the time of publication, donations have been made to the tune of $9,410. While donations have been made to the Go Fund Me campaign by other members of Windsor Council, councilor Freddie Francis, in whose ward Ojibway Park and the development reside, has remained conspicuously silent on the matter.