Langford residents may have heard the familiar sounds of cars racing at the Western Speedway Strawberry Cup last weekend. Some residents in the area may also have come home to a flyer highlighting concerns about noise coming from the popular racetrack.
Laura-Ashley Grant said she found it wedged in her front door and posts on social media show that she is not alone.
The letter says “the population affected by the noise coming from the Speedway has increased dramatically and at the same time the natural sound barriers on Millstream have been removed.” It calls for people to reach out to the city to address the issue of noise abatement.
Paul Lambert, a bylaw enforcement officer with the City of Langford said some residents have inquired about the Western Speedway in the past few weeks. The letter says individuals have met with the City, including Coun. Lillian Szpak, and asks residents to reach out to Lambert via e-mail.
Grant, who grew up going to the Speedway, said she was taken aback when she found the letter.
“It was kind of a buying feature for us honestly,” Grant said about her home. “We knew about it when we were purchasing… it doesn’t run that late at night, I didn’t think it was an issue in general.”
Lambert said the noise bylaw in Langford does not have a set time as to when noise — outside of construction — must stop.
It says no person will make noise that disturbs the peace of residents.
“We apply that by looking for at least two complaints from a neighbourhood to show there’s a noise disturbance,” Lambert said. “We also have to weigh if this is above and beyond what you would reasonably expect to come from this noise source.”
Two residents residing at the same address met with Szpak and Lorne Fletcher, manager of community safety and municipal enforcement. Szpak said the residents believe the noise from the Speedway is disturbing their day-to-day life.
She also noted, however, that about 10 years ago Langford applied a covenant to lands rezoned for residents to ensure they are made aware of the Speedway in case they failed to notice it while house hunting.
“It’s kind of like when you make people aware there’s a farm next door,” Szpak said. “They know that the land use is legal land use and that they…are allowed to do the activities on that land.”
Both Szpak and Lambert said residents who have concerns about the noise have been made aware that the land use at the Speedway is appropriate, including the noise coming from it.
Szpak said Langford has also received several letters in support of the Speedway, and has explained to residents who have noise concerns that the Western Speedway is integral to Langford.
“Council has absolutely no plans on making any changes…that has never been entertained,” Szpak said. “That land is privately owned and the activity that has taken place is within the bounds.”
The residents also had complaints about the Western Speedway not being up-to-date on the website. Szpak said she suggested they speak with the Speedway about updating schedules so the residents can plan their days better.
When there have been complaints about races going over time or noise not related to racing, Szpak said, the Western Speedway has been compliant about making changes.
Lambert also noted the owners ensure activities finish up by about 9:30 or 10 p.m. at the latest.
The Western Speedway is Western Canada’s oldest speedway dating back to 1954. It is also home to the Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame.
“If you don’t race cars and if you don’t get it then sometimes going down and looking and seeing will help you understand that this has been a major passion for many many people for over 50 years,” Szpak said.