Fresh setback for Miami Grand Prix

Shahida Jacobs
Local residents determined to block Miami Grand Prix.

Local residents determined to block Miami Grand Prix.

The troubled Miami Grand Prix has a fresh stumbling block in its way as it now requires another public hearing to discuss the impact a Formula 1 race has on the environment, according to a report.

Miami was initially set to host a street race, but plans were scrapped after it was blocked by the local community and they opted for the Hard Rock Stadium, home of the Miami Dolphins NFL team, which is located in Miami Gardens.

However, the new proposed venue is also facing opposition and reports that a public meeting of the board of county commissioners on Tuesday once again didn’t have the outcome that those in favour of the race were hoping for.

“Opposition to the event at the stadium argued that a large-scale public hearing was required to discuss the full impacts of air and noise pollution, as well as disruption of road closures during the event,” it read.

Former county commissioner Betty T Ferguson argued: “It’s Formula 1 racing in a bedroom community. The majority of residents in Miami Gardens do not want to see F1 racing at Hard Rock Stadium; the Miami Gardens city council voted to oppose Formula 1.

“We have seen too often deep pockets paint rosy pictures and have their way, only to the embarrassment of the county at a later date. Don’t allow F1 promoters to come in and roll over us over, like we’re not even humans.

“They can produce all kinds of phony statements about how they can mitigate the deadly effects, but we can never erase deadly health damage, and possibly permanent hearing loss, especially to children. Even the county’s own study verifies the deadly effects.

“No permission for road closure or special events should be given to the Dolphins without full public hearing.”

The commission had previously voted 13-0 in favour of hosting the race in the county and Marcus Bach-Armas, speaking on behalf of the stadium’s owners, was unimpressed that they were “rehashing” an old conversation after initially saying yes.

“We are zoned for motor vehicle racing because a couple of years ago we resolved a lawsuit with the county commission and the city council, there were public hearings and public votes and the resolution of those three years of discussions,” he said. “And you voted to allow motor vehicle racing at the stadium district as a matter of right. Three years later, we’re rehashing that conversation.”

But Miami Gardens Mayor Oliver Gilbert is another who is against the race taking place under his watch.

“We understand we’re in the business of tourism, but this has to be a good place to live and not just visit,” he said.

“F1 may bring people, but the people live here matter and sometimes we forget that. There’s people living around the corner, there are schools there. I’m not against events at the stadium, but not all events are the same. We’re not in support of Formula 1. It’s not a place to dump events that are toxic to people.”

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