The ordinance means the city and businesses will be held more accountable for what happens on the riverfront. It also means there will be more enforcement and inspections.
The policy is, in part, reaction to a series of reports by the Local 4 Defenders. We featured extensive reporting on the Nov. 2019 dock collapse at an unlicensed site that sent potentially harmful contaminants into the river. Investigations also exposed violations at other riverfront properties.
The Detroit River Protection Ordinance would require regular inspections, preventative maintenance planning as well as monitoring structural integrity on riverfront properties.
“The ordinance is working to do three things: Prevent future incidents from happening again, protecting the Detroit River and in Great Lakes drinking water sources, and holding people accountable. There are a number of bad actors who put our water bodies and waterways at risk and so making sure that they’re held accountable is important,” Detroit resident and community organizer Justin Onwenu said.
That includes the city. Officials will have to report to city council every two years on the state of the waterfront.
Council member Raquel Castañeda-López sponsored the bill and said Detroit residents deserve the right to play on the waterfront and drink the water without fear for their health or safety.