An entertainment venue that could include stock car racing, drag racing, an amphitheatre and even an amusement park has city support but the men behind the project may be facing an uphill battle.
Andy DeRoover, and his business partner Eric Harper have dreamed of building a multi-sport park in Campbell River for three and a half years.
The pair’s biggest challenge has been trying to secure the right property.
DeRoover and Harper were eyeing TimberWest lands west of the Campbell River airport but the property was within the Agricultural Land Reserve, a provincial zone in which agriculture is recognized as the priority use.
The men went back to the drawing board and instead turned their interest to a chunk of land at the northern end of the city.
“We are ready to put a down payment on the property at 6700 Island Highway,” DeRoover told the city in an e-mail dated April 28.
But the city is not sure where exactly the property is.
Ross Blackwell, the city’s land use manager, said the location is not an actual street address. Blackwell is working under the assumption that the land in question is on Merrill & Ring forestry lands, in an area referred to as Discovery Bay in the city’s Sustainable Official Community Plan.
If that is the case, DeRoover and Harper will have to apply for a rezoning because the land is currently zoned for resort and residential.
“If they come forward and seriously want to look at it council will have to re-consider the neighbourhood conceptual plan for these lands,” Blackwell said. “An extreme sport facility is pretty contrary to the OCP (Official Community Plan).”
Mayor Walter Jakeway warned the city may be putting up too much red tape and could scare the proponents off.
“I’d hate to see people that are willing to try something in our community discouraged. I think we need to do everything we can to encourage them,” Jakeway said. “It’s just a case of fitting it into our city plan and bylaws in our community. If staff could help them with that, that would be great.
“I know a lot of people in town would like to see this sort of activity happening.”
DeRoover and Harper’s plans for Canadian Extreme Multi Sport Park are extravagant and include a quarter mile drag race track, an oval-sized dirt track for quads, stock racing, motocross and auto cross as well as mountain bike and BMX racing.
If that doesn’t wet your appetite, there are plans for bumper boats, go cart racing, disc golf, lawn bowling, a wave rider surfing machine and a drive-in theatre.
The vision for the $25 million facility also includes a daycare and an area for camping.
But the property targeted for the venue could hamper DeRoover and Harper’s plans.
“The subject lands are not presently serviced with city sewer or water and these services are not proximal to the site,” Blackwell said. “I don’t even think there is any power. It’s a tricky piece of land.”
Still, DeRoover and Harper are ploughing ahead despite the city turning down their request for a five-year tax freeze on the property, similar to what has been put in place to attract new business in the downtown core.
Blackwell said the city is not in a position to allow a property tax exemption because the Community Charter prohibits local government from giving any kind of benefit or advantage to a targeted business
“That’s not to say that’s a reflection of whether or not the city supports that kind of thing because I think that it would be great,” Blackwell said. “I hope they are successful and we’re here to help them realize their vision for this type of project.”