Rocky View County wraps itself around the east, north and west sides of the City of Calgary, Alberta. With almost a million acres of land, the County is a prime target for developers. One of these is Rockyview Motorsports (RMP), a consortium of private investors who hope to build a Motorsports Park in Rocky View County. The County Council will meet next Tuesday, January 27th, to consider the merits of the project and give it a yea or nay.
When RMP announced the intended location of the project, and submitted their request for approval to Rocky View County, many area residents voiced their disapproval. They weren’t critical of the project itself really – just the location. Some objected to having their agricultural community, and way of life, taken from them. Others objected to having a motorsports park just a half a mile away from the city limits of Airdrie.
In retrospect, it is easy to see how a group of city businessmen thought they had found the ideal location for their motorsports park.
The section of land they chose has an undulating topography that appealed to them, and the owner was willing to sell.
According to the developer, few people even ‘live nearby’! That observation was probably RMP’s first error. In the city, people measure distance between houses in feet. In the country, ‘nearby’ is measured in miles. RMP should have counted, and then consulted with, the residents who were in a 3 to 4 mile radius around the project. But RMP didn’t and the people in this zone (which includes rural residential communities in the City of Airdrie) were blindsided by the proposal. They immediately started to speculate about how they might be impacted by what RMP described as a “regional destination for tourism and commerce”.
RMP’s location choice also meant the developer had to scale back their original vision in order to reduce the possibility of noise concerns. A drag strip, oval, grandstands and events that go with these facilities were axed from the plan they submitted, though these facilities appear in the documents that went to investors. Supporters of the project hoped that these items could be added at some future date. Those in opposition feared that could be true.
In preparation for the Hearing on Tuesday, Rocky View County Administration did an in depth review of the RMP Master Site Development Plan. Administration’s summary was “The proposal does not meet the agricultural and business development policies of the County Plan. Administration recommends refusal…”
The City of Airdrie submitted comments and concerns about the project, and in general they felt “The document contains a number of potentially contradictory statements and contains little in the way of actual development commitments…The City’s concern is the extent to which the project could change over time and the resulting off – site impacts that may occur as a result.”
One of Rockyview Motorsports supporters lamented on RMP’s Facebook page that “Unfortunately there will be opposition… has it shown it’s ugly head in any meaningful way?” In reply to that, the We Say NO Rockyview Motorsports group has spent the past 10 months gathering information and preparing for the Hearing on January 27th. They think their opposition is as meaningful as their chosen occupation is. They think the preservation of their lives and community is meaningful. What isn’t meaningful to them is a Motorsports Park.