Motorsport Resort neighbours in North Cowichan want action on track noise

Members of the Sahtlam Neighbourhood Association successfully lobbied councillors at a meeting on July 20 to have staff prepare a report

Noise levels from the new Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit has led to calls from neighbours for the Municipality of North Cowichan to take action.

Members of the Sahtlam Neighbourhood Association successfully lobbied the municipality’s councillors at a meeting on July 20 to have staff prepare a report on the implications of the noise that comes from the race track, and possible options to deal with it.

The neighbourhood association’s Damir Wallener told council that the amount of noise from the racetrack, which opened last month, is far above what the local residents were told it would be.

He said the opening day was an “ear-opening experience” for the neighbours when they first realized the extent of the noise they would have to face.

“I recorded the noise at my front door at 85 decibels, and some residents said they experienced noise even louder than that,” Wallener said.

“We were told before it opened that only street-legal vehicles would be allowed on the track and the noise wouldn’t be any louder than traffic on [nearby] Highway 18. We’re not trying to shut the racetrack down, but something needs to be done so that it’s not a nuisance to its neighbours anymore.”

Situated on 50 acres on a hillside facing Highway 18 to Lake Cowichan, the VIMC is owned by the GAIN Dealer Group.

Coun. Al Siebring said the municipality had received a number of emails regarding noise from the racetrack and asked staff what was being done to deal with the issue.

“I don’t think the racetrack is deliberately being a lousy neighbour, but [the GAIN Dealer Group] probably doesn’t know the magnitude of the noise problem there,” he said.

CAO Dave Devana said the zoning for the area does allow for a racetrack, and suggested that any study of the noise levels from the facility should be done in co-operation with the dealer group and the neighbours.

“The racetrack is a permitted use there, so if we want to encourage the GAIN Dealer Group to do a study on the noise levels and for us to have some input, we should provide some funding to help pay for the study,” Devana said.

“A staff report will then lay out the process of what can be done, and that can be debated when the report is tabled, which I hope will be sometime in August.”

Officials from the dealer group were unavailable for comment by press time.

robert.barron@cowichanvalleycitizen.com