Historic photo of speedway in Campbell Valley Regional Park.

Historic photo of speedway in Campbell Valley Regional Park.

Metro rejects revival of Langley speedway in Campbell Valley park

Challenges 'too great' to bring back stock car racing in park as duel of horsepower ends



Metro Vancouver directors have rejected a proposal to let stock cars race once again at a long-closed speedway in Campbell Valley Regional Park.

Metro’s environment and parks committee voted 8-3 Thursday to halt further study of the idea after passionate presentations from defenders of the park.

Most committee members agreed racing would be an incompatible use at odds with the enjoyment of tranquil nature and the use of the area by horse riders.

Most also said the proposal faced multiple high hurdles, including potential reviews over fishery or environmental risks and needed approval from the Agricultural Land Commission.

“From my perspective, the challenges are just too great,” said Langley Township Coun. Bob Long.

Richmond Coun. Harold Steves said it would inappropriately alter the long-standing theme of nature and equestrian use at Campbell Valley.

The society proposed racing at a restored speedway on a maximum of 14 days a year, with the facility acting as a multi-purpose venue for concerts and other events as well – potentially becoming a money maker for the Metro parks department.

“People say it will be the ruination of the park,” said Langley City Coun. Gayle Martin, one of three directors who wanted more study on the racing option. “It’s two per cent of the park, one per cent of the time.”

Abbotsford Mayor Bruce Banman and North Vancouver District Coun. Mike Little also voted against the motion to reject the speedway.

The debate pitted two different sets of horsepower fans against each other – equestrians and car racers.

It also left Metro directors in an uncomfortable position – many wanted to explore broader uses of parks and the potential revenue it could bring, but were reluctant to alienate regular park-goers and some found exhaust-belching motor sports an inherent conflict with regional environmental goals.

Langley Speedway Historical Society members haven’t given up all hope.

“We’re not going to flog a dead horse,” Dan Olson said. “However, in politics things can change and they can change suddenly. We will be looking for responsible opportunities. I still don’t rule out, in spite of what happened here today, the return of racing one day to Campbell Valley Regional Park.”

Several directors said there’s clearly demand for a racing venue in Metro Vancouver and were hopeful a more suitable site might be found.

The proponents maintain they have considerable support and that NASCAR or a similar racing style would do well in Metro Vancouver.

A staff report said Campbell Valley Regional Park contains sensitive ecosystems that are home to various threatened species.

That led Banman to question whether the park ought to be closed to all visitors in the name of habitat protection.

Delegations to the committee all opposed restoring the track, which last hosted races in 1984.

“Shame on you for even thinking of putting racing in the park,” said Carla Robin of the Langley Horse and Farm Federation.

Also opposed was Pacific Riding for Developing Abilities, a neighbouring non-profit that uses therapy horses to assist mainly autistic clients.

Christine Riek said noisy motor sports are unacceptable in Metro Vancouver parks and pointed to the location of the next nearest Lower Mainland racetrack.

“Agassiz Speedway is located near a cemetery, a rifle range, industrial land, a mountainside and a prison.”

The decision must still be ratified at the next full Metro board meeting.

The old speedway in its heyday. Races ended in 1984 after the Greater Vancouver Regional District opted not to extend the lease.

Surrey North Delta Leader

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

Just Posted

Gurdawara Sahib Dasmesh Darbar in Surrey is warning the public of a possible COVID-19 exposure at the temple between Nov. 18 and 20. (Photo: Google Street View)
Surrey gurdwara warns of possible COVID-19 exposure

Facebook post says individual was at the temple Nov. 18 to 20

A recent seizure that included drugs, cash and a firearm from two serparate incidents on Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. (Photo: Surrey RCMP handout)
Surrey RCMP seize drugs, cash and gun over the weekend

Police say items were seized during two different incidents

Anita Huberman, CEO Surrey Board of Trade. (File photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey Board of Trade calls for ‘immediate’ government help for businesses shut down

‘Don’t punish all businesses for the sins of a few,’ CEO Anita Huberman says

The 3D Digital Breast Tomosynthesis Mammography machine, new to the Surrey Breast Health Clinic at the Jim Pattison Outpatient Care and Surgery Centre. (submitted photo)
New 3D breast-cancer technology in Surrey ‘has already helped so many women’

Digital breast tomosynthesis new to Surrey Breast Health Clinic

(Photo: Amy Reid)
VIDEO: 2020 Community Leader Awards recognize Surrey’s unsung heroes

They don’t often receive recognition and don’t necessarily have a high profile in the community

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau speak to the media about the COVID-19 virus outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Friday, Nov. 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s inability to manufacture vaccines in-house will delay distribution: Trudeau

First doses of COVID-19 vaccine expected in first few months of 2021, prime minister says

Beaver Creek RCMP Cpl. Robert Drapeau, left to right, Gary Bath, Lynn Marchessault, Payton Marchessault, Rebecca Marchessault and Tim Marchessault pose in this recent handout photo near the Canada-U.S. border crossing near Beaver Creek, Yukon. A family reunion trip for the woman from Georgia that left them stranded ended on a bright note when Bath drove them to the Alaskan border following an appeal for help. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, Gary Bath *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Help from B.C. man allows American family to reunite in Alaska

Lynn Marchessault drove from Georgia to the Alaska border to join her husband, who serves in U.S. military

There are 32 active outbreaks in seniors' homes in the Fraser Health region.
MAP: See the locations of 32 active COVID-19 outbreaks in Fraser Health seniors’ homes

There are 32 active outbreaks in assisted-living, long-term care homes and seniors’ rental buildings

(Pixabay.com)
Man, 28, warned by Kootenay police to stop asking people to marry him

A woman initially reported the incident to police before they discovered others had been popped the question

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good
Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Winston Blackmore (left) and James Oler (right) were sentenced on separate charges of polygamy this week in Cranbrook Supreme Court.
No more charges expected in Bountiful investigation, special prosecutor says

Special prosecutor says mandate has ended following review of evidence from Bountiful investigations

(Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Refuse to follow B.C.’s mask mandate? Face a $230 fine

Masks are now required to be worn by all British Columbians, 12 years and older

BC Teachers' Federation President Teri Mooring is asking parents of school-aged children to encourage the wearing of masks when possible in schools. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito)
LETTER: Teachers union encourages culture of mask wearing in B.C. schools

BCTF President Teri Mooring asks parents to talk with children about wearing masks in school

Most Read