President of Rockyview Motorsports Park clarifies project
Wednesday, Mar 26, 2014 01:53 pm
Re: “Motorsports race track: Great idea, bad location,” Letter
I want to thank John McMurray for his enthusiasm regarding the idea of a new “race track” in Rocky View County in his letter to the editor. We agree that it is a great idea, and one that has indeed grown and evolved since the Motorsports, Arts and Recreation Committee endorsed this as the ideal development for a new motorsports facility. We understand there are some misperceptions about the project and welcome the opportunity to address them.
What we intend to create is a one-of-a-kind, European-style driving course and driver training facility that will put Rocky View County and its surrounding area on the North American motorsports map. Rockyview Motorsports Park (RMP) will include a four-kilometre road course; will be home to the Calgary Police Service Officer Driver Training Academy; will include a first-in-Canada advanced Road Safety Training Centre (RSTC) and will offer other amenities such as karting facilities, clubhouse, auto-related services and sports and recreational facilities for the community.
The location of our proposed development is a 1/2 mile northeast of the City of Airdrie and we believe it is an ideal location given: the excellent access for the facility users, the topography and contours of the land, the limited number of residents surrounding the property, and the one-of-a-kind opportunity it provides RMP to do something very unique on the large portion of our land, which will remain undeveloped. Our 640-acre parcel of land, which will house the road course and ancillary facilities, will disturb less than 50 per cent of this parcel. We have formed a special relationship with Olds College to use some of the undeveloped land as a “working laboratory” to engage its applied wetland-related research and to develop enhanced agriculture opportunities. It is the unique topography and water flow profile of this specific parcel of land that allows this leading applied research to be undertaken. We respect the land upon which we propose to build and in fact believe our relationship with Olds College presents a real opportunity to enhance what is there. With this in mind we have also designed the road course to have a net-neutral carbon impact.
We acknowledge that some may question why such a facility isn’t being located in an existing commercial/industrial area. Locating the proposed motorsports park in an existing area such as Balzac would be of limited benefit to the County – we do not require water and sewer services from the County as we will self-service the site for the limited user traffic that is expected.
As a result there would be no return to the County on its existing investment in infrastructure if this development was located in Balzac.
These serviced commercial lands within a defined Area Structure Plan should be reserved for commercial developments that will make an appropriate return to the County for the services it has provided to those areas.
We believe one of the major misconceptions is that this will be a large spectator facility and therefore create excessive traffic. In fact, RMP has been designed as a user rather than a spectator facility and therefore the daily traffic volumes will be modest and limited. All of the expected traffic can and will be accommodated through the required improvements to the roadways used to access the site. RMP will be responsible for any upgrading required on existing roads, including upgrading the Highway 567 intersection with RR 291 as identified in the traffic impact study that has been completed for the site. RMP does plan to host a few racing events every year (four to five), which might attract spectators. With regards to these special events within the Motorsports Park, RMP expects that permission will be required from the County to host such events with the support of an ‘event management strategy’ that describes how parking may be accommodated off-site and how spectators may be shuttled by bus so as to limit the traffic impacts to the local roads.
We are hosting a community information session at the Airdrie Best Western on April 1 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. with a brief presentation at 7 p.m. I also encourage people to visit our website (www.rockyviewmotorsports.com).