Fort Erie Town Council voted early today to approve the Canadian Motor Speedway development.
A lengthy and sometimes rowdy meeting of council, which heard from more than 50 delegations supporting or opposing the motion, came to an end shortly after 12:30 a.m. when council voted unanimously in favour of the speedway.
The approvals process now goes to Niagara Regional Council, which will vote on the matter Wednesday afternoon.
Hundreds of people attended the Monday night regular meeting of council, which was moved from the Town Hall to the Leisureplex Banquet Hall because of the expected large turnout.
The speedway, if construction goes ahead, will be built on more than 800 acres of land west of the Queen Elizabeth Way on the outskirts of Fort Erie, just across the Peace Bridge from Buffalo, N.Y. and less than 20 miles away from Niagara Falls, Ont.
NASCAR and Indy Racing League races are possibilities for the site.
The proposal includes grandstand seating for more than 65,000 people, a one-mile oval track designed with input from NASCAR star Jeff Gordon, a 2.5-mile road course and a research and development centre involving McMaster University of Hamilton.
The speedway originally had a budget of $200 million but is expected to cost twice that. Organizers maintain that there could be racing of some sort on the property by 2011.