Members of Metro Vancouver's environment and parks committee will vote later this week on whether to kill a proposal to revive the half-mile Langley Speedway.
The regional district staff have recommended not proceeding with a feasibility study, which could clear the way to allow auto racing in Campbell Valley Regional Park.
The unsolicited bid from the Langley Speedway Historical Society has generated opposition from some park users, including Joanne Braithwaite, who likes taking her dog and horse along the trails.
"It's a crazy thing to put a car racetrack in a beautiful nature park," Braithwaite told in an interview at the Georgia Straight office. "People I know who are neighbours remember the noise and the parties and the traffic."
She pointed out that 700,000 people use the park, including scouts, girl guides, photographers, stargazers, joggers, and families.
"I can appreciate that people who are interested in racing cars want another location around the Lower Mainland, but this is just the wrong location," she said.
The speedway operated from 1963 to 1984. According to Langley Speedway Historical Society president Murray Jones, the racetrack would only require 10 of the park's 566 hectares.
"With regard to the horses, there is no reason they can't continue to enjoy the park," Jones told the Straight by phone. "There would just be a short section of trail that would have to be closed to them during the time when there would be people either arriving or leaving. Otherwise, there are 14 kilometres of trail throughout the park that's available to them."
He added that other trails could be created.
"As far as noise goes, Metro Vancouver park staff used a 35-year-old study to make their case against our proposal," Jones emphasized.
He claimed that this study, which was done by a university student, did not take into account the growth of underbrush and trees around the speedway over the past 30 years, nor did it consider mitigation measures that could be taken around public-address systems or noise restrictions on vehicles.
"We would probably start with a beginner class like Hornet cars or street stocks," Jones revealed. "We would, of course, require them to have enough mufflers or the proper design [on] exhaust systems to make them meet the sound requirements."
That doesn't mollify Braithwaite, who claimed that a speedway would be "incredibly loud", attracting up to 10,000 spectators per event.
She also maintained that based on the old lease, which provided Metro Vancouver with 10 percent of revenue, the regional district wouldn't collect a lot of money.
"It's a few thousand dollars a year for space that will be locked off and not accessible to the public except if you're a paying customer," Braithwaite said. "Then if you're not a paying customer and you live within several kilometres, you're going to hear it. So it just has a huge footprint for not a lot of money."
Jones, on the other hand, suggested that a new lease agreement could be written to provide a greater percentage of revenue for the regional government.
He also emphasized that his group brought forward the proposal because Metro Vancouver sought input on how to generate money to maintain parks.
"We didn't do it to piss anyone off," he declared.
Several people are on the speakers' list for the environment and parks committee meeting, which begins at 9 a.m. on Thursday (July 11) in Metro Vancouver's second-floor boardroom.