VIMSA president Jim Johnson says he’s disappointed in the city’s decision to look for alternate locations for the proposed drag racing facility. Mirror File Photo

Campbell River drag strip proponents worried facility will be built elsewhere

After the city announced it won’t be at the airport, facility could end up elsewher on the Island

Proponents of a drag racing facility in Campbell River say they’re concerned that it will likely be made in another municipality instead after the city announced the airport won’t be its home.

The city announced last month that the “challenges related to developing a facility adjacent to the airport” have spurred it to “explore options for alternative locations,” but also expressed its support for the project, in principal, recognizing the “anticipated economic benefits,” of the track.

Jim Johnson, president of the Vancouver Island Motor Sports Association (VIMSA), says he’s certainly disappointed by the city’s announcement and worries it could mean the facility will need to be located in a different community.

“I’ve got three pieces of land in Port Alberni that they want me to look at and there’s another one further south that people want me to look at. There are places that want this frickin’ project,” Johnson says. “But even though I was a drag racer, that’s not the reason I got involved in this thing. I wanted to bring something to Campbell River that would be unique to the Island and would bring a positive economic impact to this community. It’d be a hell of a deal for us to have the only permanent facility on the Island and drag a whole lot of people here.”

But at this point he’s not optimistic, based on the discussions he’s had with the city since they made their announcement.

“They said ‘we’re gonna find you another location,’ and they started showing me these locations and, as I expected, none of them are actually in Campbell River,” Johnson continues. “If it was put in any of these locations, you’d never feel the economic impact in Campbell River that they say is the reason they want to support it.”

RELATED: Still looking for a place to race

RELATED: City will look elsewhere for a place to put drag strip

Johnson says the announcement by the city “has stirred up a lot of negative feedback,” but he wants to take a “positive approach, because there is significant good news in the release, too,” citing the city recognizing that the need is there for such a facility and that it would be an economic boon to the community to have it built.

He also says after the announcement – and the public’s response he saw to it – he was again reminded about some of the misconceptions that were circulating about what it is they are trying to do, which caused backlash against the plan.

One of these was surrounding noise.

“It’s ridiculous than anybody’s worried about the sound,” Johnson says.

“You’d have to have a huge lull in everyday activities that happen around you all the time for anyone to even slightly hear the loudest race car that we’d ever get there. We didn’t fool around when we did the sound study – we got a 200-mile-an-hour race car to do the test. We’re not trying to fool anybody. I said right from the start that we have no interest in building something in the wrong place. “That would be just stupid.”

Another misconception, Johnson says, is that they were asking for city money to create the facility.

“VIMSA has never asked for any taxpayer money,” he says. “We have only asked to partner with the city to build on their land. We are willing to invest $5 million to improve a piece of unused previously cleared land providing items like roads, taxiways, paved parking areas and mowed grass areas. The open house information said we could request that the road and fence be supplied, but we’d never let that be a stumbling block if they said no.”

But Johnson and the rest of VIMSA are still hopeful that the city will give the airport location another chance, so that the people of Campbell River won’t see this facility located elsewhere “and only then realize that we missed another great opportunity.”



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

Art Gallery of Greater Victoria sees delays in expansion

Rising construction costs prompt AGGV to look at different design and funding options

Tofino douses Atleo Air firefighting heroes with support

Community says thanks after chopper volunteers extinguish remote brush fire

Mitchell’s Musings: Time flies faster in new millenium

Like Steve Miller before him, columnist feels time keeps on slipping, slipping, slipping

Vancouver Island Chronicles: meet the man who brought sawmilling to Alberni

Capt. Edward Stamp was a walking contradiction who built sawmills in outrageous places

World’s largest hockey stick getting new lights

New lighting system can change colours and patterns

QUIZ: How much do you remember about Woodstock?

Weekend music festival in Bethel, New York, was held 50 years ago

Canada ‘disappointed’ terror suspect’s British citizenship revoked

Jack Letts, who was dubbed “Jihadi Jack” by the U.K. media, has been detained in a Kurdish prison for about two years

Chrystia Freeland condemns violence in Hong Kong, backs right to peaceful assembly

There have been months of protests in the semi-autonomous region

B.C. VIEWS: Log exports and my other errors so far in 2019

Plastic bags, legislature overspending turn out differently

‘It’s just the freedom:’ Paralyzed Broncos player pursuing life on the water

The former Humboldt Broncos goaltender, who started in the net when he was nine, was paralyzed last year

Canadians killed in Afghanistan honoured during emotional dedication ceremony

One-hundred-fifty-eight Canadian soldiers died during the mission

It’s snow joke: Up to 30 cm of snow expected to fall in northeastern B.C.

Alaska Highway, Fort Nelson to be hit with August snowstorm, according to Environment Canada

Sea-to-Sky Gondola in B.C. likely out of commission until 2020

Sea to Sky Gondola carries between 1,500 and 3,000 people every day during the summer season

Helicopter-riding dog Mr. Bentley now featured on cans of new B.C.-made beer

Partial proceeds from every pack go to Children’s Wish

Most Read