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NEWS: Proposed ‘Canadian Motor Speedway’ prompts water concerns near Fort Erie

A $400 million, 821-acre ‘Canadian Motor Speedway’ has been proposed for Fort Erie, Ontario. The 65,000-seat stadium, to be located near Bowen Road and the Queen Elizabeth Way on the eastern tip of Lake Erie about 150 kilometres south of Toronto, will be the subject of an Ontario Municipal Board hearing starting on June 18.

The Bert Miller Nature Club notes, “The Speedway will seriously affect two of Fort Erie’s creeks, Frenchmans and Millers and, to a lesser extent, Beaver and Black creeks. …Humans have a long history of treating creeks badly, particularly where large numbers of us gather. There is no reason to believe our up to 100,000 guests including campers, and racing fans will suddenly find the means and the desire to treat Fort Erie’s creeks any better. Water flows downhill, and both creeks will certainly suffer serious negative consequences from the proposal to locate racing operation at their headwaters.”

That web-page adds, “Water quality in both creeks will diminish for several reasons. First, the biological services of the plants and animals that now purify water on the hundreds of acres to be cleared and replaced with hardened surfaces will be lost. Moreover, groundwater from the campground and runoff from the racing oval will be significantly contaminated by racing and other human activities. And the road course creates additional concerns. Its construction will alter the hydrology (the rate and direction of flow of water) of an enormous area. Proponents are planning to build a bridge over a provincially significant wetland. Accidents and spills are inevitable in racing, and could happen anywhere on the road course. However, the bridge over this wetland may be the location of greatest risk.”

While Niagara This Week reports that the Citizens Coalition of Greater Fort Erie, one of the major groups opposed to the project, has settled with the speedway’s proponents, others have maintained their opposition. The Niagara Falls Review notes that, “The issue will go before the Ontario Municipal Board on June 18 at town hall at 11 a.m., and is open to the public. Critics appealed the project, claiming the speedway, among other concerns, will have negative environmental impacts, and will not create the economic prosperity supporters are anticipating.” The OMB hearings are expected to last two-weeks.

To read more, please go to http://www.bertmillernatureclub.org/issues/motorsports-speedway/water-pollution/.