Niagara Region Waves Green Flag for CMS

PrintFor Immediate Release

April 30, 2015.

Niagara Region Waves Green Flag for Canadian Motor Speedway

Major support for the $400 million dollar Canadian Motor Speedway project in Fort Erie , Ontario became official this week when Niagara Regional Council ratified a recommendation from the Region’s Planning and Development Services Committee to include CMS lands as a strategic location for investment in its Niagara Gateway Economic Zone and Center Community Improvement Plan.

It means CMS is now eligible for tax incentives and development charge reductions .  Estimates of The Region ‘s program represented by incentive options range from $1.4 to $1.8 million annually in tax increment grants over 10 years, plus $1.5 million in development charge reductio ns in the first phase of the CMS project.

The Canadian Motor Speedway project represents the largest Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in Ontario Tourism with $400 million in direct, private sector investment, providing an estimated $430 million in economic impact from development and construction. It will create an estimated 1,100 direct and indirect jobs.

Canadian Motor Speedway Chief Executive Officer Ibrahim Abou Taleb welcomes the commitment from The Niagara Region.

“The ratification of the report today is another great milestone for CMS. As we have stated since the beginning of the project, a world class facility like CMS can only be created with the real support of local government and t he Niagara Region has certainly proved its commitment to the project with the inclusion of CMS in their Gateway Economic initiative, thus triggering crucial investment incentives for us.”

Canadian Motor Speedway Partner and Executive Director Azhar Mohammad s tated that this is real, tangible support for the project and CMS’ financial time-line.

“Today’s vote was significant in the sense that it’s the first time CMS has ever received measurable and material support from the Niagara Region during the last 8 years. The Region clearly understands the tremendous positive impact CMS will have for its residents and has made the right decision in investing in our collective futures. We congratulate Chairman Caslin and his team for standing with us. It is our hope the Province follows the Region and T own s lead with support for offsite infrastructure.”

Niagara Regional Council Chairman Alan Caslin believes the vote to include CMS in The Gateway Economic Zone demonstrates The Region’s new commitment to economic prosperity.

“This partnership and investment shows that we are serious about positioning Niagara globally and demonstrates our commitment to a number of Council’s strategic priorities. What we’re talking about has major positive benefits for Niagara’s future – it’s hard to imagine another project where we would be able to see such a high and immediate return on our investment.”

Fort Erie Regional Councillor Sandy Annunziata, who put forth the original recommendation to The Town, and The Region, stated that Gateway inclusion will help CMS move forward. He wants the Province of Ontario to get on board.

“Absolutely! What we have to have are tangible metrics. The Town has provided it, The Region has provided it, and I think it’s owed to CMS after 8 years of being this patient. They need a commitment from the Provincial and Federal levels of government to fund the off-site costs that should not be borne by the investor and developer. We also have some work to do to educate parties outside Niagara. We have to take the messa g e to Toronto, to Queen`s Park and Bay Street. These aren`t grants, these aren`t giveaways. This is contingent on a $400 million investment and I think it`s incumbent on the Province and the Federal government to do their part to make sure we secure this investment.“

Fort Erie Mayor Wayne Redekop offers the new deal with the Region is a giant step forward for CMS and the Town.

“This project rings all the bells with respect to economic growth and prosperity for our community. We put in our application several months ago to extend water and sewer to the property which also has a side benefit for the municipality to create other lands that can be utilized for employment, industrial lands, etc. There’s no reason why the Province shouldn`t be moving this forward. To me it’s a no brainer. We’re talking about $400 million in investment, hundreds of jobs, $430 million annually in economic impact in Niagara. If the Province has a growth and prosperity agenda, and I know they do, what’s the problem? They should be getting on board supporting this wholeheartedly, moving the project forward for approval and do whatever they can to welcome CMS to Ontario.”

About Canadian Motor Speedway (CMS):  CMS is a world-class motorsport and entertainment development in Fort Erie, Ontario. CMS will include industrial, recreational and commercial retail space, as well as a motorsport innovation park in collaboration with McMaster University’s renowned Faculty of Engineering and Niagara College, expanding the build-out to $400 million. The core of the project is a stand-alone “Jeff Gordon Designed Signature Speedway” that includes a ¾ mile banked oval and a 2 mile FIA/FIM grade road course. Initial grand stand seating: 60 thousand, plus 5 thousand enclosed club seats and 40 corporate suites.

Tomas Tales: Another CMS Milestone!

CMS Region Gateway Photo Caslin Mohammad Annunziata, Kuchyt

A milestone for the financial future of CMS was realized at this week’s meeting of the Niagara Region’s Planning and Development Services Committee.

The Committee gave all-but unanimous approval to include the speedway lands as a key investment in its Niagara Gateway Economic Zone.

It means CMS can be eligible for tax incentives and price breaks, balanced against the millions of dollars the track will generate in economic impact and jobs!

CMS Partner and Executive Director Azhar Mohammad says it was a huge day in the CMS timeline!

“This is a fantastic day! We have been building up to this and it’s great to see finally that the Town of Fort Erie and The Region have tabled something that is real, achievable, and executable. It’s real support. And as an investor, we really feel this is something was a long time coming and we’re glad it’s happened, “ Mohammad commented.

Chairman of The Niagara Region, Alan Caslin, declared the vote clearly shows The Region’s new-found commitment to make economic prosperity central to everything it does.

“We’re open for business and we’re demonstrating it. It hasn’t always been that way at The Region. This is once in a lifetime, a massive undertaking, “ Chairman Caslin offered.

Final approval is expected next week at Regional council’s general meeting!

In the photo, taken at Regional Headquartes in St.Catharines moments after the vote, from Left to Right:

Regional Chairman Alan Caslin, CMS Executive Director Azhar Mohammad, Fort Erie Regional Councillor Sandy Annunziata, and Acting CAO, The Town of Fort Erie, Tom Kuchyt.

Earth Week 2015

In honour of Earth Week, we wanted to share some of our Green initiatives that are being researched and developed for the design, construction and operation of CMS.

 

Print   Monday April 20th, 2015

   CARBON NEUTRAL SPEEDWAY

Since the inception of the Canadian Motor Speedway development, we have instilled a relentless mandate for our engineers to ensure the design and operation of our facility will be Carbon Neutral. Jeff Gordon has been a champion in the industry to promote environmentally friendly initiatives and this is a fundamental component with respect to how he envisions CMS as the World’s First Carbon Neutral Speedway. It’s a responsibility we take very seriously as motor sports transitions into a greener future.

Carbon Neutral Tree logo green

CMS will achieve its carbon neutral status by offsetting the carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere from racing, through the utilization of renewable technology used for power, heating, cooling and leading edge waste management techniques that will create a greater amount of useful energy which does not produce any carbon dioxide. Our environmental enhancements on the site as well as best forestry practices will further promote the production of cleaner air for future generations. Carbon neutrality is not a simple tagline for us, it’s how we will race and operate our facility responsibly.

 

Tuesday April 21st, 2015

NATURAL AREAS

The Canadian Motor Speedway development covers 823 acres in Fort Erie near Lake Erie and the Niagara River. 328 of those acres will be unpaved parking lots and camping areas. 289 acres are naturally environmentally protected areas. That means 75% of the property will be green…and that does not include the floral displays and landscaping around the speedway, road course and ancillary buildings.

The relocation and redevelopment of Miller Creek Phase 1 was completed in the Fall of 2013. On the west side of the QEW highway, Miller Creek often dried out and once connected as part of Phase 2, will be able to hold water year round, host wildlife habitats and become a natural backdrop to the 65,000 seat grandstands. The banks of the creek will now be 60 metres wide and you can see the amphibian ponds already carved out. We are looking forward to seeding the creek-bed, planting trees and joining up the Creek.

Did you know that the official tree of Fort Erie is the Tulip Tree? Other native trees are Red Maple, Flowering Dogwood, Eastern Hemlock, White Spruce and the Eastern White Pine. The wooded lots will be protected and eco trails will connect natural features through the use of pedestrian & bike trails.

 

Wednesday, April 22nd, 2015 – Earth Day

DESIGN & CONSTRUCTION

Other Carbon Neutral initiatives that are being considered in the design and construction phases include geothermal power generation, geothermal heating & cooling, solar power, waste to energy and possibly the recycling of grey water. Not only will these sustainable technologies reduce our carbon footprint, but they will save money and increase efficiency.

Geothermal energy is energy produced from the heat of the Earth. It can be produced naturally and efficiently and is extremely clean and sustainable. Geothermal energy can be used in both summer and winter months – which is important in Ontario where we enjoy temperatures at both extreme ends of the thermometer.

A 5-acre solar power field powers the entire Pocono Raceway and about 250 homes in the area. We will also be looking into solar power options at CMS.

Many of these initiatives will link nicely to our educational partners who will either assist in the operation or be able to come and learn about these sustainable systems. We plan on leaving portions of these and other systems open and on display for elementary, high school and post secondary student groups to come in and learn about sustainability on site.

The selection process for materials used in the construction of CMS will take into consideration the long term environmental implications and sustainability. For example, LED lighting around the track and entire facility will not only save money after the initial investment, but the lighting is designed to be glare free to oncoming drivers and minimally visible/distracting when viewed from the rear. LED Light bars will also notify drivers, teams and fans in the stands when there is a caution or a Red flag on the track. Other construction materials can save on energy costs such as 3M window films and other vinyl solutions for design and décor.

Utilizing local contractors for construction when possible will also save on transportation costs and emissions. We look forward to working with Walker Industries, who operate quarries across the street, instead of hauling aggregate from Northern Canada.

Part of our detailed Traffic Management Plan includes shuttle bus depots, charter bus parking and solar-powered golf carts for shuttling fans. This will reduce traffic and fuel consumption on highways and reduce travel times.

 

 

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015
RECYCLING

Recycling programs as part of our guest and event operations will include bottles, cans, paper, plastic, glass and metal. Beverage partners will be leaders in our programs and have already shown their commitment to recycling at stadiums and racetracks.

Through a composting program, our organics can be turned into compost and used in our flower and vegetable gardens. We look forward to developing this organic recycling program with our educational partners in the agriculture, horticulture & culinary fields. Niagara College chefs from the Canadian Food & Wine Institute are familiar with vertical farming and selecting fresh ingredients to plant and use in their recipes which can be created and enjoyed at CMS.

Other post-secondary programs can coordinate with CMS regarding recycling beyond plastic and paper. The recycling of grey water and converting waste to energy are two recycling initiatives that we will be exploring. If these systems are put into place, we will leave portions of them open for education, school groups, tours and training so that CMS benchmark achievements in sustainability can be passed on to other developments.

Not only will CMS recycle materials consumed on site, but we have a list of Community Events that will allow residents to bring items to CMS to be recycled as part of awareness campaigns and fundraisers. Schools or organizations can promote awareness and even raise money by hosting a recycling event at CMS. Whether it’s tires, batteries or electronics, we look forward to linking community and corporate partners while recycling materials for a good cause at CMS.

Another wonderful organization is Habitat for Humanity that uses its’ re-stores to recycle household furniture and building supplies. Any homes that are being removed from the property in order to build the speedway will have items donated to the Habitat for Humanity re-stores. Once we are open, we have a few more ideas of how to partner with Habitat for Humanity.

Recycling programs as part of the on-track content at CMS will be included in the design requirements for equipment and infrastructure. Companies involved in the automotive industry whether it be the manufacturers or race teams and series want to be a good partner with the earth and are involved with programs that see that racing oils and tires are recycled. Environmental services companies provide oil recycling and re-refining services, ensuring that all oil and lubricants used in racing are recaptured and re-used. Race tires are collected and processed into a recycled material that can be sold to various industries for next-generation usage such as power generation, asphalt mixtures and compounds for playground mulch, roof shingles and flooring.

Even the race cars are recycled by race teams. Parts are reused or re-engineered, materials are recycled and race cars with outdated technology at the top series are often sold to other racing series.

 

Friday, April 24th, 2015
RESEARCH & DEVELOPMENT and EDUCATION

A major focus of the CMS development is R&D, innovation, education and developing sustainable technologies that will improve motorsports, the automotive industry and everyday life in general.   Even before the 21 acre R&D Centre is built, in the first core speedway phase of CMS, schools and companies can use the Speedway Club for seminars and conferences, the corporate suites as classrooms, the garages as labs and of course testing on the tracks.

The potential to have research projects at CMS brings a post-secondary element to the Town of Fort Erie and the opportunity to develop on existing sustainable technologies and potentially create next-generation life changing technologies. Research projects that have been brought to our attention already include developing electric/solar/hybrid powered vehicles and charging stations, converting garbage into plastic, converting plastic to oil, converting a seed/grain/fibre into plastic, converting switch grass into bio-fuel.

Where does these innovations go?…To manufacturers and eventually to the consumer. CMS will work with our education and manufacturers to develop and produce commercially sustainable technologies. Some of the innovation may cross the road to have components manufactured and assembled on the 10 acres of CMS lands that are already zoned for light manufacturing.

Automotive manufacturers can utilize the track for testing year round with new technologies. CMS will also host automotive manufacturer new vehicle launches, commercials and photo-shoots for vehicles and components. For example, winter tires can be tested in winter conditions and marketing campaigns can be filmed and launched at CMS. Winter driving schools can also take place at CMS.

School groups can tour CMS to look at the facility, learn about how it operates on and off the track with automotive technology and sustainability systems (solar, geothermal, recycling). CMS will host mega-mileage challenges where high school, college and university teams build eco-cars, test and race them and the winner is not only the fastest, but the most efficient using sustainable technologies.

Our education partners can also develop programs to train, upgrade and re-train mechanics with their own automotive business whether it be garages or roadside assistance. The automotive industry is changing rapidly with hybrid and electric powered vehicles. CMS can host the R&D, the education, the training and testing for new technology. The Research & Development that will occur on site will assist in developing green technology and allow for educations for all ages at CMS, inside and outside of the automotive industry.

 

 

Saturday, April 25th, 2015
MOTORSPORTS & SUSTAINABILITY

Many automotive innovations are developed for racing to improve speed and efficiency. Sometimes the racing industry takes technology– electric cars, fuels, etc and pushes them to limits to test and drive performance. These improvements eventually go back to the showroom at your local dealer.

Racing series are striving to have a responsible sustainability platform whether that includes the track facility infrastructure, recycling programs for consumables, tires or racing oil or the technology used in racing series. Ethanol fuel for racing is made from corn and considered a renewable energy resource.

The Formula E electric car racing series is in its’ first season in 2014-2015 with 10 races around the world. CMS will not sanctioned by any racing series until we are closer to construction be completed, but we can say that this is a series we are watching, especially there isn’t a Canadian race on the schedule yet.

There is a new partner starting to be seen on some racecar decals and CMS will be looking into the association for a future relationship as well.   The Green Sports Alliance leverages ‘the cultural and market influence of sports to promote healthy, sustainable communities where we live and play’. They do this by ‘inspiring sports leagues, teams, venues, partners and millions of fans to embrace renewable energy, healthy food, recycling, water efficiency, species preservation, safer chemicals and other environmentally preferable practices. Green Sports Alliance members represent nearly 300 sports teams and venues from 20 different sports leagues and 14 countries.’

 

Tomas Tales: Special Stevens Memorial at Merrittville.

Brian StevensThe loss of well known individuals affects us in different ways.

The passing of an entertainment legend reminds us of our past, our youth. We remember their acting, their songs, and perhaps the way they made us laugh.

When we lose a sports figure, the emotion is often the same. You feel sad when you lose a hero.

When someone in the sport of auto racing departs, the impact can go even deeper, because the sport attracts fans young and old, male and female. It’s a very wide demographic.

And when we lose a local racing hero, someone we also called a friend, Dad, husband, brother or sister, the emotions run higher still.

When DIRT Modified legend Brian Stevens of St. Catharines left us close to a month ago, losing his brave battle with cancer, plans to honour his memory were started almost immediately.

While the Niagara tracks Stevens competed at- Ransomville and Humberstone Speedways plan to salute his long career, his “home” track will stage an extra special signature event.

Next month, at Merrittville Speedway in Thorold, fans, friends and family of the two-time Modified track Champion and Wall of Famer, will gather to remember Brian with a very special Memorial Race.

It was at Merrittville, Canada’s oldest and longest operating clay oval, that Stevens reached legendary status.
On Monday May 18th, the 358 Modified feature will be a 44 lap Super Dirt Week Syracuse Qualifier, that will reward the winner a take-home purse of $4,444.44.

The number 4, 44 and even 444 were Brian’s car numbers.

“Throughout his career, Brian had great support from many racing-minded businesses and it’s wonderful to see many of them come together for this special night,” stated Merrittville Speedway General Manager Erica Bicknell-Jones. “He was also fortunate to have a dedicated crew and loyal fans who made one of our first fan clubs that worked together to keep Stevens Racing in contention every race,” Bicknell added.

Erica is right and it’s heart-warming to see.

Corporate Niagara and long-standing sponsors of Stevens have come through with support for his Memorial race at Merrittville.

York Electro-Plating, where Brian worked during the day heads the list. Hingston Metal Fabricators and Cosgrove Racing Engines, now owned by Tom Cosgrove, the son of former driver and Stevens friend and racing rival Ken Cosgrove have committed support.

Transport Sales and Service and the Slack Family, Rev’s Full Throttle Powersports, Gallagher’s Farm Market, long-time fan Dylan Wurfel, Bicknell Racing Products, Pete’s Automotive and Hoosier Tire Canada are also among the friends that have come forward with donations to bolster the nights’ purse.

“We are encouraging Niagara’s business community, race fans and especially those who knew Brian to join with us,” Bicknell-Jones continued. “It’s our goal to remember him with a spectacle and to reward competitors right through the starting field with bonus purse money!”

Those wishing to support the Brian Stevens Memorial should contact Merrittville’s Jim Irvine via e-mail: jimirvine@cogeco.net or through the Speedway Office at 905-892-8266.

An event web site will launch soon where “Friends of Brian Stevens” will be posted and recognized as well.

Pit Gates will open at 4 PM May 18th, with the Grandstands opening at 5:30. Showtime is set for 7:00 PM.

For Flyin’ Brian.
ET
-Event details and Erica Bicknell quotes provided by Merrittville Speedway and re-printed with permission.