Community group proposes $20-million motorsport park
A multi-million-dollar motorsports facility has been proposed near Airdrie with a potential opening date in the second quarter of 2014.
Calgary’s Race City Motorsport Park closed at the end of the 2011 racing season to make way for the continuation of Stoney Trail and a new landfill for the City of Calgary, leaving motorsports enthusiasts and fans without a facility.
The local project, which is being spearheaded by a group called the Motorsports, Arts, Racing, Culture and Sport Committee (MARCS), was formed last year. The group consists of Calgary Alderman Shane Keating, businessmen Rick Coutts, Ryan and Damon Ockey, and former Calgary alderman - now Alberta Transportation Minister - Ric McIver.
The land the track will sit on is about 500 acres, located east of Airdrie near Balzac.
Racing facilities such as Race City and this proposed track give racers of all disciplines a safe environment to practice their craft, Keating said.
“We know there are those who will break the law (and race on the street),” said Keating.
“If there is a facility, we would still love to have that Friday night (drag) racing. It’s only a matter of time before there are tragic consequences from their actions.”
The proposed project will be coupled with a private airport, and backed by users through a founders’ investment system, in which user groups and individuals invest in the construction of the track in return for a founders’ membership.
The track will be built in two phases, with the first phase expected to include a 1.2-km karting track, drag strip, car condos, founders’ clubhouse and a 4.5-km grand American-quality track featuring between 12-18 turns.
The MARCS committee will now begin to work with the municipalities of Airdrie and Rocky View to get the wheels turning on this project. Keating says the public can help out in two key areas.
“The first thing they can do is put financial backing behind the track if they have the means,” said Keating.
“The second thing is making a connection with Rocky View County and the residents and saying this won’t be an impedance on your lifestyle.”
The Calgary Kart Racing Club was denied permission to build a track near Irricana in 2009, when residents voiced concerns about the noise racing would cause. However, Keating says the parcel of land this new facility will be located on will not affect many residents.
“That’s one of the beauties of this location, is there are very few residents and it’s adjacent to a commercial area,” said Keating.
“The other issue is the (residents) backyard is very important, meaning that it should be their backyard. We don’t want residents from miles and miles away saying ‘I don’t want a track there’, when we know the sound does not travel that far.”
Airdrie Mayor Peter Brown could not comment on the proposed track as he has yet to see the plan up-close.
“The little bit that I know, it seems like it would have a positive impact on the community,” said Brown.
“I am looking forward to seeing more details and who is bringing it forward.”