A multi-sport park that proponents claim could host NASCAR and drag race events, has the city’s support, but it might not be enough.
Eric Harper and Andy DeRoover, both from Campbell River, want to build a venue that would not only facilitate racing, but also include an amusement park, bumper boats, hover crafts and a daycare.
“We are proposing to build a multi-sport park for the purpose of having multiple revenue streams from several businesses within the park that will all contribute to maintain a quarter-mile track,” Harper told council in March when he and DeRoover made a presentation to city council, looking for its support.
Last week, council gave support in principle to the concept of an extreme multi-sport park development, but there are still significant hurdles facing the proposal.
The men are looking at a site, in excess of 400 acres, on the west side of the airport. The land is designated as Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use.
Although the agricultural value of the land is uncertain, in order for the park to be built on the site, the province would need to give approval for either the land to be excluded from the Agricultural Land Reserve or for the park to exist within the protected lands.
“The ALR seems to be the biggest problem,” said DeRoover. “So now we are looking for other property as well as the property by the airport because the ALC (Agricultural Land Commission) may turn us down, and we hear that’s most likely what will happen.”
Although the city supports the location in general terms, there are still technical details and issues that need to be worked out.
“Lands on the west side of the airport are not serviced nor have public road access. Accordingly, appropriate site servicing would be required as a condition of approval,” said Ross Blackwell, the city’s land use services manager, in a report to council.
“This includes the provision of potable water and sewage disposal. Road access will need to be resolved either through dedication and construction of a public road or possibly an access easement over intervening lands.”
DeRoover and Harper are now looking at other communities in the event the land, which is owned by TimberWest, will not be available.
“Until we find the right place to build, which may not be in Campbell River now, we keep on looking,” said DeRoover. “Wherever this park is built, will get the huge benefits that come with it.”
Harper and DeRoover estimate the venue would host three to four major events per year, such as National Hot Road Association sanctioned events, that could draw 20,000 to 30,000 people to the city. They figure if NASCAR can be brought in, 50,000 people may attend.
The park would operate 12 months of the year. Centred around a dirt, quarter-mile race track the facility would be aimed at families and may host a junior drag school for up and coming racers, rock/hill climbing, a drive-in theatre and access to R.V. camping and track camping.