Badlands Motorsports Resort working to finalize plans

Badlands Motorsport Plan

Anyone involved in the process will admit that the development of the Badlands Motorsports Resort has been a long process. Owning the land since the early 2000’s, the Badlands Recreation Development Corporation has been patiently complying with Kneehill County municipal bylaws in order to see their dream of a Motorsport resort complex finally come to fruition.

What CFO and Project Manager James Zelazo and his team have in mind is an all-inclusive resort complex complete with amenities such as restaurants (potentially including franchises), a luxury spa and salon, condominium units with garages, water recreation park, carwash and gas stations, and all manner of services related to automotive maintenance, which are detailed in the “Badlands Motorsports Resort Area Structure Plan” posted on the county webpage. It would be located on land Section 22-27-21-W4M, 3.5 Km North East of the town of Rosebud. The Rosebud River runs through the property, and the southern border of the property rests on the boundary of Wheatland County.

There is currently nothing like this in either Alberta or Saskatchewan; the closest racetracks are found as far away as Gimli, Manitoba and Mission, British Columbia. The group, therefore, has had widespread support from car enthusiasts all across the Prairie Provinces.

The Badlands Recreation Development Corporation (BRDC) purchased the section of land in question in 2005. They began working on their Structure Plan, a detailed 100-page long document, in 2006 and submitted it to the County in June of 2013. The next step of the process was then to rezone the land status from “Agricultural” to “Direct Control.” This change was approved by Kneehill Council in January 2014 and amended by the municipal government board hearing in May 2015, outlining conditions which must be met in order for subdivisions and developments to be approved by the council (this amendment can be found under Bylaw 1657 on the County website).

Furthermore, the BRDC worked with the county to ensure that road bylaws were complied with. Zelazo labels this step as the most time intensive as the road which belongs to Kneehill County has to be paved under Kneehill regulations, and must be completed by the time the track is finished. Topographically it is a challenging area to develop, but the group has been working with famed track designer Alan Wilson: an expert in his field for decades.

There are certainly some dissenters to this plan, especially those in closest proximity to the proposed resort such as the “Save the Rosebud” group. While Zelazo understands their concerns, he assures that the BRDC has taken every measure to ensure environmental care and states that the retaining walls detailed in the Structure Plan will even help to decrease soil erosion. The BRDC is aware of the vegetation and animal life that inhabits the property and desires to protect these species. In regards to noise concerns, the Plan iterates that it will not be race cars or dragsters used for races but rather street legal cars (such as Ferraris, Porsches, Corvettes etc.) and therefore noise will be minimal. Concerned citizens should peruse the Structure Plan at for details.

From the County’s perspective, Reeve Jerry Wittstock acknowledges that change can be difficult, and that it will be a change for the people in this area. However, BRDC owns the land and they have the right to develop it as they choose as long as the plans fit the bylaws of the Municipal Plan. They know the county’s bylaws and have thus far been diligent to follow them.

Currently the BRDC is working to finalize their plans in order to submit them to the County for approval. Detailed plans of the various tracks and designs still need to be submitted. Zelazo has seen strong support from Alberta Tourism and from Alberta Economic Development, from the town of Drumheller, and from motorsports enthusiasts. If all goes according to plan, the BRDC will be surveying in the next few months, hoping to move earth in late summer or early fall 2018. Those interested can stay tuned on the Badlands Motorsports Resort webpage or on the group’s Facebook page for the most up to date information.