Last Friday (November 23rd), the Niagara This Week and the Hamilton Spectator reported the deal for the Canadian Motor Speedway proposed for Fort Erie was apparently dead.
This plan has been in the works for years now and, when the proposal finally received OMB approval earlier this month, it sounded like the final hurdle had been cleared. But, of my part, I have always been skeptical about any announced plans for a new auto racing facility, vowing to reserve judgement until I see the bulldozers moving on site. Many more race tracks are proposed than the number that actually emerge as real operating race facilities. So, despite the favourable OMB ruling, I still prefer to wait and see.
“As a condition of the holding provisions for the by-law to approve the speedway, the developers must first acquire three properties from homeowners in the area,” James Culic’s wrote in his column. Two of the property owners have reportedly said that, after many previously missed deadlines, they gave the developer a final drop-dead closing date. That day came and went earlier this month and the property owners never saw any money. They say they are tired of delays and this was the final chance. Apparently, without these two properties, the development cannot go ahead and the whole speedway plan will stall.
That isn’t to say the developer won’t eventually come up with the money for these properties, which would be small in comparison to the $400 million in projected costs the speedway complex will incur. And, who’s to say the land owners won't change their minds and agree to close the sales. However, you have to wonder if, when the developer is seemingly having trouble writing the cheques for these “smallish” properties, that is a sign the rest of the money might not be forthcoming. If that’s the case, we may be writing this project off as yet another Niagara peninsula raceway pipe dream that never came to fruition.