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      11-24-2009, 12:14 PM   #389

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Looks like Race City might not be out of the woods yet

Race City lease in doubt after landfill work axed

Calgary HeraldNovember 24, 2009 6:14 AMBe the first to post a comment

City council has rejected paying $3.1 million for work on city-owned land necessary to extend the lease for Race City.

Ald. Ric McIver wanted his council colleagues to fund the work from a reserve fund, saying it would help "business not get out of business."

But in an 8-7 vote, council rejected the move.

A number of aldermen argued that paying for the work was essentially a subsidy for a private business.

"It's highly unusual to subsidize private business and ask Calgarians to pay for it," Ald. Druh Farrell said.

Race City owner Art MacKenzie said Monday's vote during budget discussions doesn't affect him.

"It doesn't make any difference to us," he said, adding Race City won't pay for the work. "We'll continue to negotiate the lease. If all else fails, there's legal action."

McIver, an ardent supporter of the speedway, which is in his ward, said he hoped it wouldn't come to that.

" If worst comes to worst, I hope Race City is successful in suing the city to get their lease reinstated," he told reporters.

Council had previously directed city staff to continue talking to MacKenzie about coming to terms on a new lease, which would allow the track to remain open until 2015.

However, the track staying open another five years requires additional work on that land, to accommodate an extension of the Shepard landfill if the city doesn't take back possession next year.