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 now be built elsewhere

After the city announced it won’t be at the airport, facility could end up on South 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.”

You can see VIMSA’s entire statement on the subject here.



miked@campbellrivermirror.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Model railroaders bring life-long passion for their hobby to annual Campbell River show

Annual train show coming to Museum of Campbell River on Jan. 25-26

Campbell River’s Teal Harle to compete at X Games this week

Freestyle skier set to take part in slopestyle and big air competitions

PHOTOS: Storm fall to Braves in shootout at the Brindy

Saanich won 4-3 Saturday night in Campbell River

Campbell River cadets show off their marksmanship

First annual air rifle shooting competition held

ICBC to bring in ranking system for collision, glass repair shops

Change comes after the much-maligned auto insurer has faced criticism for sky-high premiums

‘It was just so fast’: B.C. teen recalls 150-metre fall down Oregon mountain

Surrey’s Gurbaz Singh broke his leg on Mount Hood on Dec. 30

Vancouver Island Pride weekend returns to Mount Washington Alpine Resort

Building on the success of last year’s family-friendly pride festival on Vancouver… Continue reading

Scarlett Point lighthouse keeper wins a million bucks playing the lottery

“I usually just get a quick pick, so I didn’t expect to win a big prize”

Poll suggests some don’t think Canada should send troops to stop genocide

The findings are being released just before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

B.C. woman crowned the fastest female marathon runner in Canadian history

Malindi Elmore ran an incredible 2:24:50 at the Houston Marathon

Alberta bulldog breeder ordered to give refund to B.C. buyer due to puppy’s behaviour

Tribunal ruled a verbal agreement to send a new dog superseded the written contract

UPDATED: Man dies in backcountry near Nelson’s Whitewater Ski Resort

The victim was found unresponsive in a tree well Friday

Most Read