City Council Plans Speedboat Races Through Municipal Airport | Local News


ONTARIO – The organizer of the Big Nasty Hill Climb in New Plymouth will have to return to Ontario City Council with a clearer picture of the financial details of his proposed project: speedboat races in Ontario. Ron Dillon told the board at its July 13 meeting that he has been working on the proposal with airport manager Erik Hartley since they “rejected the tires” about the idea about two years ago. and a half months when they talked about the potential to do so. flat motorcycle racing at the airport. Developing a motorcycle track would take some time, Dillon said, but indicated that an area for speedboat racing could be put in place sooner.

Dillon was urging council to “come to an agreement tonight” on a deal either to lease space on the former municipal golf course for $ 1,000 or to have the city foot the bill, helping with details, such as installing chain link fences and cables, and using bulldozers and excavators, and allowing Dillon to go out and secure funding from the private sector. He also offered to give the city 75% of ticket sales in the first year.

However, city council members were reluctant to sign something whose final cost was unknown, including allowing Dillon to rent the space himself without knowing more.

“They’re crazy to watch – they crash, jump out of the water and turn around,” he said. As such, speedboat racing tracks should only hold about 30 inches of water so that boats don’t get submerged.

The origin of this water is also unknown, however, Dillon said there were two existing wells that could potentially be used: a well used by hemp farming or another well that is used for agricultural purposes.

Building a track on the golf course’s existing old pond would require too much work, according to Dillon. On the contrary, it would be easier to find flat land and build from there.

“Time is running out,” he told the council, indicating that a deal at the meeting could give them time to have a race on September 24.

The goal would be to eventually host world races, which take place every four years with the next event in 2023. However, to do that, a few national races would have to take place first, Dillon said.

During the meeting, Dillon told the board he believes speedboat races could pay off, as they have done for the past few years in Marsing, where they have drawn as many as 4,000 spectators. Those events eventually came to an end, Dillon said, due to a dispute between family members who owned the facility.

He cautioned the council against believing that “if you build it, they will come.”

“They could come – I have been amazed and amazed over the years,” at how events unfolded, Dillon said.

On paper, he said, it would be better if “the city does the heavy lifting”, but added “I have no idea what your real real costs are.”

City manager Adam Brown told council Hartley could not be at the meeting, but asked to pass on his recommendation to rent the property to Dillon “for $ 1,000 and then let him run the event.”

Councilor Ken Hart asked if the FAA would agree to have a non-aeronautical activity next to the airport, adding that it was not even able to use the property to combat homelessness.

Brown clarified that the denial was about accommodation and there may not have been any restrictions on speedboat racing.

Saying he didn’t want to “throw cold water” on any proposal that could bring more business to Ontario, Mayor Riley Hill said he would always like to see more data before council accepts a decision. such proposal.

John Briedenbach, CEO / President of the Ontario Region Chamber of Commerce, urged the board to seriously consider the proposal, saying they are excited about the idea as it could fill hotel rooms and “put l Ontario on the map as a destination for highways. “

After further discussion, he clarified that the concept would attract tourists. As such, he said he would be eligible for a grant. As such, Dillon could potentially seek the $ 1,000 to lease the project from a convention grant for visitors and rooms.

“There is no risk to the city here,” Brown said. “It’s almost like when someone rents a lodge in the park. They pay the user fees and then do whatever they want.

Hill made it clear that he would also like the FAA to say it would be OK.

Hart offered to table the proposal to further explore the idea and give staff time to consider any potential issues.

“I don’t want to be an obstacle,” he said. “It could be big and awesome. “

Councilor Michael Braden said his hang-up was the lease, adding that he would like Brown to draft a proposal with “to consider” conditions.

Councilor John Kirby, who is a liaison with the airport committee, said that while the conversation has been going on in this group for a few months, he was also not opposed to the issue being filed for two weeks.

Hill urged Dillon to return to the board at its July 27 meeting with a written proposal that includes all relevant financial information, as well as details regarding liability insurance.

Saying that he would be speaking with Chris Bowman, the national speedboat racing president who was also present at the meeting, of course, Dillon said he was unsure if the delay would give them enough time to get ready for an event this fall.

“There is a good chance that there will not be an event until spring 2022,” he said, adding that he appreciated the council’s caution and concerns.

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