January 21, 2015 - 1:39 PM
PENTICTON - A new concept in tourism will put motorsports within reach of tourists and residents of the South Okanagan.
Bill Drossos, President of South Okanagan Motorsports Corporation and Area 27 said his company and the Osoyoos Indian Band recently completed the designation process for the Area 27 Motorsports Country Club.
“We still have to finalize the lease with the federal government - once we have that we can begin construction,” Drossos said.
Area 27 is a 277 acre site located on Osoyoos Indian Band land near Oliver. Plans for the property include a race track, club house, teaching centre and karting track, bundled up in a sports and tourism concept unique to Canada.
“We’re in the process of finalizing the engineering now,” said Drossos. “We expect to begin construction sometime in the spring.” Drossos said the construction period is expected to take six to seven months. He hopes the site will be open for September and October this year.
Describing Area 27 as a “country club for sports car owners” Drossos said the track will provide a place for sports car owners to learn to drive on a track under safe conditions. Coaches and instructors will be on hand to assist drivers. A karting track to be built on the site will lower age barriers and allow young people and beginners an opportunity to try out the sport as well.
“There are quite a few of these in the U.S., ”Drossos said. “This is the first one in Canada.”
The "Area 27” moniker pokes fun at the fabled “Area 51” U.S. Air Force Base in Nevada, Drossos explained. He expects the Jacques Villenueve designed course to be a huge tourist magnet for the South Okanagan.
“Our memberships are already over half of what we expected to have signed up in our first year. That’s really encouraging.”
Drossos said the facility would not just be used as a country club, but would also be available for corporate entertainment, in addition to four or five major motorsport events every year.
“I think this will bring an unprecedented economic boost to the South Okanagan,” he said.
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