Despite setbacks, Canadian Motor Speedway have announced that construction of the track in Fort Erie, Ontario is on the correct course.
Phase-one of the land development was the re-construction of Miller Creek, and that began on Tuesday October 8th. Aecon Construction has been working hard, moving over 200 thousand tons of top soil and clay. The main flow channel of Miller Creek excavation is completed with the banks of the creek grass hydro-seeded. The trees will be planted in the spring.
CMS Partner and Executive Director Azhar Mohammad said it’s great to see progress and after attending a NASCAR race in the United States, he hears people talking about the project.
“Everyone we spoke to knows about CMS,” he said. “Everybody is talking about the buzz in Canada in the motorsport industry. Everyone has a detailed understanding of what we’ve gone through the last few years, and now they know the project has finally started. CMS designer Jeff Gordon has been such a great ambassador for Canadian Motor Speedway.”
A small ground breaking ceremony was done with top executives, however, a more formal bigger one will be done next year.
“We really want the CMS fans and the public to be part of the celebration. We are definitely planning a memorable event that will involve Jeff Gordon, who will address the fans to thank them for their loyal support on what will be a very special day”, Mohammad continued.
The Canadian Motor Speedway project kicked off as part of a partnership with Jeff Gordon and Paxton Waters.
In February, Jeff Gordon’s step-dad John Bickford said that Gordon has wanted a race in Canada since going to Japan for an exhibition race in 1998. Gordon also questioned the trip to Mexico, continuing to ask for that race. When he learned that there was no facility available, that is when the project began.
“Jeff has always wanted to come to Canada,” Bickford said. “He and I were here in 1989/1990. We’ve always been big supporters. Canadian race fans have supported Jeff throughout his entire career. So I think the idea of giving back is an important component. We’re just advocates of giving back to the Canadian race fans and we’re not giving up.”
Canadian fans have proven their dedication in the past, with the attendance at events in the United States being made up of 10-20% Canadians.
Moving forward, CMS is looking at what architectural firm to work with to start getting the formal blueprints done.
“We should have an architectural firm selected by mid-February. To develop a detailed site plan will take approximately three months to reflect the approved zoning bylaw.” Mohammad added. “The design will reflect the .7 mile oval and 2 mile road course with grandstands, as well as the multi-use aspects of the CMS vision… the hockey rink, the concert venue, and infrastructure to support McMaster University and Niagara College. We are looking to submit our final site plan to the Town of Fort Erie in April, with a projected construction start on pre-grading and site alteration work by mid- summer .”
When the formal ceremony is done, it will green-flag eighteen months of construction as officials hope to have the track race-ready for 2016.