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City council signs off on final Indy losses
The money-losing Edmonton Indy motored out of city council’s hands Wednesday when it approved a $3.3-million payment to cover the final deficit and other costs.

“We made a choice probably 12 to 18 months ago to go ahead or not,” Coun. Don Iveson said.

“We understood the choice was to spend about $3 million on cancellation fees, more or less, or spend $3 million and have a race.”

The 2010 Indy run by Northlands lost $2.8 million, less than expected due mainly to lower costs, but the city was also on the hook for $400,000 in expenses from the 2008-09 events, says a report.

As well, there are $75,000 in fees to wind up the non-profit company Northlands created to manage the race.

In total, the event ran up $12.5 million worth of red ink for the city over three years.

But Northlands president Richard Andersen said he’s happy the race, now being promoted by Montreal’s Octane Motorsport Events, will stay in Edmonton.

“It’s a lightning bolt in terms of high profile on a global perspective … obviously, racing at first wasn’t our expertise, the economy was a bit different,” he said.

“We’re obviously a lot smarter now than when we first got involved in this. … I suspect the city feels the same.”

The city is providing Octane with $5.5 million worth of sponsorship and $1.5 million in free police, transit and other services to run the race until 2013.

It has also committed to a $3-million paving project to accommodate a runway closure by changing the course to the east side of the City Centre Airport from the west side.

That money is slated to be covered by parking fees when the track isn’t being used and contributions by local businesses.

Octane officials will be in Edmonton next Wednesday to unveil the new course, grandstand location, ticket prices and other information. Edmonton Journal

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