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 reductions 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 the 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 stated 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 Town'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 message 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.
www.cdnmotorspeedway.com www.facebook.com/cmsnation, or on Twitter @CMSnation
From Erik Tomas, Media Consultant, Canadian Motor Speedway.