Motor Speedway in the Works in Fort Erie
FORT ERIE, ONTARIO (WKBW) The land has been purchased, the proposal is in, and just a few small government hurdles separate the Canadian Motor Speedway from becoming a reality.
"It is a 65,000 seat venue that will be built right off the QEW here in Fort Erie, and it'll have a one mile oval track and a 2.5 mile road track in the middle. And we're hoping to attract some significant races here to the Town of Fort Erie, and this will be expendable to over 100,000 people," Fort Erie Mayor Doug Martin said.
The executive director of the project says the speedway would create about 12 hundred construction jobs and 400 permanent jobs once the speedway is opened for business.
"We hope the Canadian Motor Speedway can turn things around in the town, but also in the entire region of Niagara," Executive Director Azhar Mohammad said via phone.
But why the small town of Fort Erie?
"You can get the millions of people from Toronto to come down, and all of Western New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio to come to this as well," Mayor Martin said.
Currently, the main draw and employer in the area is the Fort Erie Racetrack, which recently lost its slots, and whose future is still up in the air. But add a speedway, and Mayor Doug Martin says the future of Fort Erie could become much brighter.
"Are we greedy because we want them both? Absolutely not. We will do what we can to keep both of those because we've seen them both working together as a draw and attraction for people coming up," Martin said.
And though nothing has been discussed or signed, the goal is to attract names like NASCAR to Fort Erie.
"We can build a facility that people like NASCAR would definitely come because its catered to them," Mohammad said.
Fort Erie is now waiting to hear back from the Ontario Municipal Board with final approval. The estimated economic impact on Fort Erie of the track would be roughly 400 million dollars.
The project also has a big name on board, NASCAR driver Jeff Gordon, who is "designing the speedway."
If everything is approved this year, a groundbreaking is expected shortly, with a year and a half of construction and an inaugural race as early as summer or fall of 2014.