Image from Canadian Motor Speedway
Race car fans are used to a fast pace, so watching the progress of the Canadian Motor Speedway (CMS) in the Town of Fort Erie, ON in its dealings with the Federal and Provincial governments, where the pace is decidedly much slower, can be difficult. However, the Canadian Motor Speedway in Fort Erie is making progress. The largest delay in the expensive decade long process has been establishing infrastructures and deciding who will be footing the bill. With the establishment of a Fort Erie corporate office in November 2014 and budget talks in 2015, we may see this project completed by 2017.
A unique attraction for the province
There has never been a development like the CMS in Ontario. The final site plan includes a world class oval speedway, which connects to a fully integrated road course, research and development park, and a major entertainment complex within the Town of Fort Erie. The initial phase of the project started in 2013 with an estimated $400 million budget for the 823 acre site auto site west of the QEW.
The CMS opened a corporate office in Fort Erie in November 2014. This represented the shift into the next phase of development: the engineering and construction work on the site. This will act as the primary meeting place and has provided a permanent presence in Fort Erie, allowing management and stage to manage site work.
In order to move the final site plan conditions need to be clearing with the Ontario Provincial Ministries. There have been multiple meetings with the Ministry of Transportation, trying to get the Bowen Road/QEW issue settled and to secure the financial commitment from the Provincial government. The Bowen Road/QEW will need a significant re-build, as it will serve as the main access point for the complex. The interchange will need to be widened and securing financial support has been one of the most difficult tasks for the CMS investors. The site will require $42 million in upgrades to the land before any actual work can begin on the speedway.
The latest update
As of February 2015, the Town of Fort Erie has applied for a governmental grant, which would see the cost split three ways, with the Federal, Provincial, and Municipal governments will each pay one third of the cost. The Town of Fort Erie’s CAO, Tom Kuchyt, has confirmed the town is unable to contribute the necessary $14 million. The CMS developers have agreed to cover the $14 million, as long as the Federal and Provincial governments provide the remaining $28 million.
The Ontario Minister of Economic Development, Brad Duguid, is committed to bringing the Canadian Motor Speedway to Fort Erie, which is not targeted for competition for 2017. The CMS will provide long-term benefits to the Town of Fort Erie, the Niagara Region, and the Province of Ontario.
The development will continue to be an interesting one to keep our eyes on, as it will have enormous economic spin offs for the Town of Fort Erie and further commercial development from other investors in the area.