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Gimli Motorsport Park Sale Rumors


funkejay
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As many of you are aware, there are a number of rumors circulating that GMP has been sold by the Gimli CDC.

We’re aware of these rumors and our information is that this is not accurate, though we understand there is a concerted effort being made by a private consortium to purchase the facility.

Moreover, your Executive has been aware of this developing situation for a number of months now. We have been in communication with the CDC and have been requesting a meeting with the Board to discuss the matter since this summer.

Nevertheless, we have not discussed this openly with the membership until now, as the consortium, if it is composed of the individuals we believe it is, includes at least one active member of the WSCC.  

As a result, we felt it would be inadvisable to disclose that we were aware of the situation as anything we might communicate to the membership would invariably be shared with the consortium.

Furthermore, given the risk that this deal, if it goes through, could limit (or even eliminate) GMP as a future venue for the WSCC, we also elected to put an immediate hold on all further facility repairs until such time as we met with the CDC.

As some of you have observed, your Executive has been somewhat oblique about issues surrounding our relationship with the CDC and GMP track repairs, and we hope that in light of these developments, you now appreciate the difficult position in which we found ourselves on this issue.

We remain in contact with the CDC and have requested a meeting to discuss these developments and the potential impact on our existing permit agreement. We understand that the Board will meet with us for those discussions, and once that meeting is held, we will report back to the Board of Directors, and then to the general membership.

In closing I simply ask that you bear with us as we work through these developments, and when there is news to announce, we will be in touch when it is time to do so.

Thanks again,

Jay Funke
WSCC President  

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  • 3 months later...

I may be reading this wrong, but not sure how Jim thinks this is good news, I am confused and concerned about the future of the track. I would say that the news is  very "interesting" for sure.  

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The fact that at least someone on council has the cranium capacity to realize the municipality has a gem that they need to dust off and promote. And that council has an obligation to consult with  members of the community and different users of the property in the future of GMP. A fire sale tactic should definitely not be considered. The property, as many other assets, has more value than just a fixed dollar amount. History, heritage and a source of draw for the town of Gimli are definite concerns that need to be considered.

I think the more interested groups that learn about what was going on the better chance it remains as status quo. Perhaps it could be considered a "Heritage Site" with all the rich history. ;)

Any consultant worth their salt is going to inform the CDC to not lose an asset with such a past, present and future value. One thing you can't make more of... land.

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I find one comment from the deputy mayor encouraging, to paraphrase: it’s not about making money, it’s about getting people to come to Gimli and visit our businesses. WSCC could have the advantage there, grass roots, more people. 

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I do, however, need to point out something that disturbs me a little bit: many of the people who use GMP do not spend much money in town. 

I take the liberty to exempt myself from this statement. I have always had the attitude that I should leave money wherever I go. And even to this day, when I don't earn too much money anymore in outlying communities, I still abide by the rule of leaving money where I am, as the communities have spent money to make me feel welcome there. And I know that there are a few others who think like that...a few!

Yet, many people do not have this attitude. They sleep at the track in their tent or camper. They bring all their fuel with them in jerry cans, they have coolers full of food and drinks (stocked up in their home community) and won't even head into town for a burger or a coffee.

Here is a suggestion from me: bring some business into Gimli if you want Gimli to look after you! Tell the business owners that you are at the race track when you eat supper in town, or fill up your fuel! Get your steaks and beverages for the BBQ at the track from the local stores, instead of hauling it from somewhere else, and let the people in the store know that you will eat them at the track, where you are all the time! At least, give the Gimli population a chance to support us by letting them know (and proving it!) that we support them! 

Last summer I filled up my RX-8 in town. Both the pump attentend as well as the cashier looked at my car, and started to reminisce about the times when there was road racing "out at the airport", and how great that used to be. They were completely flabbergasted when I told them that we are out there numerous weekends per year - and those were middle-aged men! I would like you to process that: People who used to go and watch the races didn't even know that they are still happening! Could it be that we don't let the community know anymore that we are there, because we are too lazy/cheap/ignorant to make an effort to engage Gimli's business community?

I believe everybody -from WSCC, Interlake Dragway,to MKA and MRA- should look at themselves and ask: "What can we do to ensure that the business community of Gimli wants to keep the track as a public facility?" Remember that businesses run communities - if you are not a customer, you are nobody!

Edited by donrolandofurioso
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I don't know which gas station you went to, but those guys must have been new to town! Every time I go out there, the pumps are absolutely flooded with fast cars before and after every event. It causes chaos every single time.

Sounds to me like maybe more people from the city know about the racing than people two miles away in town. They should really advertise their local attractions a bit better.  Obviously again this year, hands will be tied with Covid rules. But it would sure be nice to see some more spectators, and possible future racers/volunteers once the World gets back on its axis.

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The last two posts actually prove my point...

 

"I don't know which gas station you went to, but those guys must have been new to town! Every time I go out there, the pumps are absolutely flooded with fast cars before and after every event. It causes chaos every single time."

It was the Mohawk, and no, they were not new in town. They mentioned (and so did I in my post) that they used to go and watch the races, so they were definitely not new in town. Should we really expect the town to do all the advertising for us?

"Not sure how the townsfolk wouldn't know racing is happening. You can hear the track in action all the way in town." How exactly does noise explain what is happening? And does noise make for a great argument to keep that status quo, if noise is the only thing the townfolks get out of the whole deal?

 

This whole discussion centers around trying to keep the track; actually the entire facility, for the various types of motorsport happening there. I find it very unrealistic to say that the gas stations are packed with "our" cars. Every track weekend I get gas in Gimli at least two times, and seldom do I see more than two cars from the track there, and those cars are usually hotlappers. Remember that not all fast cars at the gas station come from or go to the track - Gimli is a cruise destination for many Winnipeg car clubs. So unless you point out that your are going to the track, you will be added to the other customers who come into town, yet are not our clubmembers. Likewise, the MRA members usually have their bikes in a trailer, so nobody will know that this customer is a customer only because there is motorsport at the track. Ditto for the MKA racers....are we really that conceided that we assume people know who we are if we walk into any retail setting? How about telling them, and then they know!

My point is: if the average town folk does not see that the racers leave money in town, they don't remember that there are racers out there. And if they don't make any money off the racers because the racers don't buy their supplies in town, they will much less likely fight for those racers.

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Thanks for the comments Roland, I often get meals & gas in Gimli, with my older bones I’ll be staying more often @ the AutumnWood. I usually leave my car # sign on when I drive into Gimli. I will be more deliberate in the future. 

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10 hours ago, donrolandofurioso said:

are we really that conceided that we assume people know who we are if we walk into any retail setting? How about telling them, and then they know!

 

Conceited??? That's quite the stretch. 

When you pull up anywhere in Gimli in a pack of cars, trucks and car haulers (I'll take some pics for you next time), there is no need to cry out to every little old lady walking her dog that we are there for a reason. IMO, That would come off as conceited, and maybe even a little bit obnoxious. Gimli is like any other small town with a track, the car/race fans don't miss a thing, and the rest don't care even remotely. 

If the town itself is wanting to save it and protect it, it should not just be up to one grassroots club to do all of their local advertising for them. Every community has special committees for stuff like this, and I don't think I have ever seen one poster or heard one local radio ad even mention "their" park, with the exception of the Winter festivals and ice racing on the lake.

Personally, I love being in town on race weekends! You absolutely cannot walk into a restaurant, hotel, or store without running into a familiar face from the track or spotting a WSCC shirt. I actually find it weird to be up there when nothing is going on, I don't recognize anyone! lol

Edited by Rare Snake
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10 hours ago, donrolandofurioso said:

"Not sure how the townsfolk wouldn't know racing is happening. You can hear the track in action all the way in town." How exactly does noise explain what is happening? And does noise make for a great argument to keep that status quo, if noise is the only thing the townfolks get out of the whole deal?

Everyone who lives in Gimli knows there's a racetrack nearby. Do they really need an explanation for what that noise is that they're hearing? I'm sure they can put two-and-two together. It's likely more a case of "who cares" for most of them. I imagine a large majority of the town find the noise obnoxious, if the recent kaiboshing of St. Andrews' drag racing is anything to go by.

Us racers and racing car fanatics are a niche crowd.

I don't disagree that we need to focus on the track's strengths and the people that it brings into town, but I wouldn't hold my breath for magic to happen either. Gimli already sees TONS of Winnipeggers going there on weekends that have nothing to do with racing or the track. The boardwalk, pier, beach, ice cream stands and restaurants are packed nearly every weekend during the summer. The racers going into town to spend money, which likely represent a tiny percentage of visitors that the town already receives, won't be any sort of make-or-break, in my opinion. I may be wrong, but I just don't see that as a huge selling point.

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I've been going to GMP since the the beginning 1974, I remember going to buy fuel in town with my dad or his mechanic then in 91 got my own thing going and still buy food or fuel in town or the airport.

Why would anyone want to transport 40 plus liters of fuel, that's an accident waiting to happen, plus fuel is sometimes cheaper in Gimli.

Just because Jen and I along with others camping at the track, mean we ignore the town .

We go in town for supper on Saturdays and we always see club members eating at the same place or recognize other members vehicles at other restaurants or gas stations.

The guys at Chudds know me from the track only. 

 I will make sure that any business I shop in, will be notified that I'm from WSCC and I am supporting you because of GMP.

See you at the track

Cheers

 

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Hey all, 

Just wanna throw my two cents into the ring. I don’t disagree with Roland that people should shop local to the track when they’re there. We never bring food or fuel with us, it doesn’t make sense to transport stuff 700 km when we can just buy it there, and we always have breakfast at Robins, and try to make it to the Ship & Plough or one of the other fantastic restaurants in town for supper. But I will say people really don’t know about the track as much as others are making it seem. Last time I was out there (that was 2019 already!) we went to the Pizza Hus, and when the waitress asked what brought us to town and I told her that we were racing at GMP she genuinely had no idea there was a track at all.
 

4 hours ago, Rare Snake said:

If the town itself is wanting to save it and protect it, it should not just be up to one grassroots club to do all of their local advertising for them. Every community has special committees for stuff like this, and I don't think I have ever seen one poster or heard one local radio ad even mention "their" park, with the exception of the Winter festivals and ice racing on the lake.


I do also want to say that I have never been to an event run by the town of Gimli! I didn’t realize they hosted events at GMP. /s

It is absolutely the various clubs responsibility to advertise their own events. Don’t get me wrong Gimli is missing out on promoting the heritage that they have with GMP, but they also don’t host the events so they shouldn’t be responsible for promoting them.

I was involved with the drifting scene in Saskatchewan and Alberta for a number of years including having a part in some of the administrative work, and it took a huge amount of time and effort from our organization and others to get people to fill the stands. In Canada these days there is just a complete lack of motorsports culture to get people excited about it, and the people in the sport have to make the effort to bring that back. If you look in Europe that culture is still present, towns with tracks buzz with excitement on race weekends, and everyone is excited about it. I don’t know how we can start building that culture again personally, but I feel like the vintage weekend might have the potential to help. Cool old racing vehicles are exotic and special to more than just the automotive junkie. Perhaps working with the community it could become more of a festival for the whole town, and not just some cars parked at the track for a weekend? I don’t know, I’m just rambling at this point.

Anyways, I hope we can keep on racing at Gimli for the foreseeable future, and I look forward to seeing everyone this year (hopefully).

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I also camp at track. But buy my food and beverages once there. I can actually  buy my beer that is brewed in Saskatoon for less there than at home. I will eat out at restaurant and also buy from grocery store for ice and snacks,it  just easier.  Also purchase  fuel there all the time.

 Bruce 

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Thanks @Jim Eh. 
What I find to be the most Interesting statement is when Counsellor Palson uses the daycare reference where she questions why there’s been no discussion around the sale of the race track – just a vote. A possible lack of transparency is evident.

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I too spend my money in town, my gas ( except for my VP), food and lodging is there. I am not a big camper but understand the fun and the comradery that this brings and is an important and necessary part of the sport. In my eyes it is hard to promote smaller grids as not much fun for spectators to watch 4-10 cars drive around. But then we have another issue and that is how to grow the grids to have a "show" to promote. Kind of chicken and the egg thing. And then that brings another issue to light and that is the big elephant here. With the track in poor shape, looking run down, its hard to get someone to spend the time, effort and "money" into a race car. The reality is until you fix the track and can get the hidden cars back out and the grid numbers up, improve the show,  then the people will come. YES I have been through this before and invested my own time and lots of money into the kart track I first built and owned. Kart, cars bikes makes no difference, all the same problem. When the track was first there, I grew the club from 5 to over 65 racers in 3 years. Had held IKF divisional event to draw in close to 100 from Alberta and Manitoba. Then the crap hit the fan. I bought out the track and rebuilt the club again. Ever year till I sold it our average race entry climbed until  sold the track and again crap hit the fan. This was not me doing it and this is not about my ego. My approach was the difference. I took every chance I could to promote the sport, car shows , show and shines ect and the word got out.

What I believe needs to happen is the club to make improvements to start. This will do 2 very important first steps. One, show the town of Gimli commitment and 2, show commitment to the racers and get the cars out of the garages and back on track. This will attract out of town racers that will spend money in the town and again show that the club is invested in the community. I also know it is a scary thought to dig into the clubs coffers to make an investment that maybe be only short termed. There are business owners in the club and they all know, no risk NO reward. So what happens if the track gets sold and you lose your spot to race. The money came from racing anyways. If the club grows in membership  you gain the money back in the short term. If it doesn't you have a bigger issue and that will simply be, with out the track can the club survive? No venue no club, pretty simple. For the 40-60,000 won't matter if you need to start again. A track from scratch will be minimum 10 plus million for the basics and by waiting will just go up in price. Try to save what you have and  I believe a business plan based on trying to sway the town, show commitment and grow your support should have already been done. That my $5 worth.  I will shut up about this now. I have said my piece. Hope to see you all shortly. 

         

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Lots of interesting perspectives here. Good to see that people are invested and want to discuss solutions. 

I think everyone shares the view that we need to spend as much time and money in Gimli as possible, and engage with the community at every opportunity. Remember that each and everyone of us is an ambassador for the club and the future of GMP. 

I hope to see you all at the meeting on Thursday for more discussion of the article that appeared in the Weekly Express at the beginning of the month and the impact this development is likely to have on the future of the track. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

This excellent article appeared in the Gimli Express Weekly News today, describing the WSCC's role in the history of GMP and our recent efforts to engage with the RM and CDC over the future of the track. 

A huge note of thanks to our Road Race and Publicity Director Mat Léveillé for his hard work in setting this up and his deft handling of what is an extremely sensitive issue. This is something we on the Executive have been working on for quite some time, long before even the RFP announcement in the April edition of the Express Weekly News. 

It is important that the Club's perspective is accurately represented to the public and our vision for the future of GMP. 

http://www.expressweeklynews.ca/

May 5 2021 Express Weekly News - WSCC and GMP.pdf

Edited by funkejay
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I'm happy to see discussion going on here and opinions being shared. I just joined the club and got my license which was a great event. I plan to be out for many more ! I've used GMP for many years being involved with drag racing.

 

Few things need to happen to bring out people to participate. We have an untapped market in Winnipeg and Gimli would reap benefits and so would every other user or customer of the park.

Track needs to be repaved and ear marked for expansion / multiple track setups.

Grounds need to be modernized and setup for an attraction to draw in people. There is alot of concrete that can be used to various events other than racing to bring in crowds.

Need to have Gimli become an experience destination. Ability to rent cars and race set amount of laps with instructor in car will bring tourism and open up the sport for those thinking about trying it.

Partner with dealerships to host more events. AMG Driving academy, BMW, Porsche, etc. Great exposure for brand and potential for customer to really demo that sports car. 

WSCC if not running this type of facility needs to still stay involved. The relationship between Castrol Raceway and NASSC being similar model. I'd actually like to see WSCC "run" the day to day of the park with GMP staying as the owner and providing direction for capital investment plans.

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7 hours ago, Doombreed said:

I'm happy to see discussion going on here and opinions being shared. I just joined the club and got my license which was a great event. I plan to be out for many more ! I've used GMP for many years being involved with drag racing.

 

Few things need to happen to bring out people to participate. We have an untapped market in Winnipeg and Gimli would reap benefits and so would every other user or customer of the park.

Track needs to be repaved and ear marked for expansion / multiple track setups.

Grounds need to be modernized and setup for an attraction to draw in people. There is alot of concrete that can be used to various events other than racing to bring in crowds.

Need to have Gimli become an experience destination. Ability to rent cars and race set amount of laps with instructor in car will bring tourism and open up the sport for those thinking about trying it.

Partner with dealerships to host more events. AMG Driving academy, BMW, Porsche, etc. Great exposure for brand and potential for customer to really demo that sports car. 

WSCC if not running this type of facility needs to still stay involved. The relationship between Castrol Raceway and NASSC being similar model. I'd actually like to see WSCC "run" the day to day of the park with GMP staying as the owner and providing direction for capital investment plans.

Thanks for the feedback and the suggestions. 

I can tell you that the Club Executive is currently looking at the viability of most, if not all, of these items already. Hopefully at the end of this process we're in a position to manage the facility - in whatever capacity that might take. There is so much untapped potential at GMP, and we're confident that we are the correct group to guide this historic venue through the next chapter of its development. 

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