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Windsor police: No timeline for Huron Church Road returning to normal


Windsor police and leadership remain wary of a return of the Ambassador Bridge blockade. “There are still people that we are concerned about.”

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Ongoing concern about another Ambassador Bridge blockade means there’s no timeline for Huron Church Road traffic returning to normal, say Windsor police and the mayor.

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“There remains a risk that compels action at all levels of government,” said Chief of Windsor police Pam Mizuno during an update to the community on Wednesday.

“While I cannot commit to timelines, I assure you that the Windsor Police Service and our partners continue to prioritize community safety above all, and will aim to reduce traffic restrictions where possible.”

Despite demonstrators and their vehicles being cleared from the bridge area on Feb. 13, Huron Church Road remains under careful monitoring, with many intersecting streets still inaccessible.

As of Wednesday, Windsor police announced the opening of intersections at Industrial Drive and Northwood Street to east-west traffic, as well as for southbound travel on Huron Church Road.

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However, northbound traffic on Huron Church Road is still limited to bridge-bound vehicles.

Deputy Chief of Windsor police Jason Bellaire emphasized that law enforcement agencies are “absolutely concerned” about the blockade returning, and are aware of the continued presence of demonstrators in the community.

“We still have local people and (people) from not far away that are involved in this type of activity,” Bellaire said. “There are still people that we are concerned about.”

“It’s evaluated on a continual basis, throughout the day and throughout the night.”

On Tuesday, authorities intercepted a contingent of six to seven transport trucks on westbound Highway 401, about 250 kilometres from the city.

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“It was learned that this convoy had travelled from Ottawa, and it is suspected that this convoy was heading to Windsor,” Mizuno said.

Bellaire said that after a “simple interaction with officers,” the convoy changed course and was last seen travelling eastward on Highway 401 — presumably returning to the demonstration in Ottawa.

Deputy Chief of Windsor police Jason Bellaire (right) and Chief Pam Mizuno (left) update the community on the traffic situation on Huron Church Road leading to the Ambassador Bridge. Photographed in Windsor on Feb. Deputy Chief of Windsor police Jason Bellaire updates the community on the traffic situation on Huron Church Road leading to the Ambassador Bridge. Photographed in Windsor on Feb. 16, 2022., 2022.
Deputy Chief of Windsor police Jason Bellaire updates the community on the traffic situation on Huron Church Road leading to the Ambassador Bridge. Photographed in Windsor on Feb. 16, 2022. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

In Windsor, at least 90 charges have been in relation to the week-long occupation of the Canadian entrance to the Ambassador Bridge at Huron Church Road and College Avenue.

Bellaire said members of the Major Crime Unit are continuing to review evidence from the past week — and more charges could be pending.

Meanwhile, Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens said he shares the frustration of residents and business owners with the “gauntlet of concrete barriers” on Huron Church Road — but such obstacles are still necessary.

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Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens provides an update on the aftermath of the Ambassador Bridge blockade and its impact on Huron Church Road traffic. Photographed in Windsor on Feb. 16, 2022.
Windsor Mayor Drew Dilkens provides an update on the aftermath of the Ambassador Bridge blockade and its impact on Huron Church Road traffic. Photographed in Windsor on Feb. 16, 2022. Photo by Dax Melmer /Windsor Star

“Let me be clear: This remains a national security situation that prevents us from simply reopening Huron Church Road to regular traffic at this time,” Dilkens said.

The mayor said the City of Windsor and the Windsor-Essex Regional Chamber of Commerce have been working directly with the businesses affected by the situation, helping to inform the public of alternate routes.

As well, passengers on Transit Windsor’s Central 3 buses travelling to and from the Sandwich Street area will ride free of charge until traffic improves.

Dilkens said the city is also helping impacted businesses document their losses due to the blockade, and those costs will be included in an eventual request by the municipality for financial aid from higher levels of government — “once this situation is cleared, and all costs are known.”

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Dilkens said he recognizes that the blockade and its aftermath have demanded even more sacrifice from Windsorites, especially those in the west end. But measures must be taken to prevent a repeat occurrence.

“The reality is that the economic disruption that would be caused by another illegal occupation would simply be too staggering to bear,” the mayor warned.

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