Speedway investors want green flag ‘within weeks’
A conceptual rendering of the Canadian Motor Speedway. (Submitted photo)
The Canadian Motor Speedway’s executive director says the project’s investors have waited long enough for the Ontario Municipal Board to render a final decision on the $400-million project in Fort Erie, adding that taking this long is not the right way to attract more foreign investment to the area.
In 2012, the OMB ruled in favour of the speedway and the approvals and steps taken by planners and other officials. In March, the grassroots environmental group Preservation of Agricultural Lands Society appealed that decision.
After the appeal hearing, it was explained by the OMB that a decision would be made in a month.
It’s been two months since then.
Last week, Azhar Mohammad, the speedway’s executive director, flew to Kuwait to meet with investors for what was called an “emergency meeting.”
Over the weekend, Mohammad said the funding is still in place and confirmed that nobody is backing out of the project, but he added the government needs to come up with some answers very soon.
“If we do not receive a decision in the next few weeks, we will reconvene with our partners to determine next immediate steps,” he said.
“CMS is still committed to building this world-class facility. However, we need to stop wasting our time and money as a result of serious inefficiencies in Ontario’s development approval process.”
Mohammad said he was unable to divulge specific details about the private company’s meeting last week overseas, but for the purpose of providing an update to the project’s supporters, he explained that a topic of discussion was the excess of two million dollars in losses that have been incurred on land extension payments “directly caused by the ongoing approval delays.”
He said the town of Fort Erie, along with the Ministry of Natural Resources has been co-operative and supportive, but the OMB and its “inefficient process” has put the project on hold for now.
“This is unacceptable to us,” Mohammad said, “and we have directed our teams to hold any further work on the project until a decision is rendered.”