The Cowichan Valley Regional District has yet to receive any applications from West Shore Motorsports Park to move its operations to the Shawnigan Lake area. (File photo)

The Cowichan Valley Regional District has yet to receive any applications from West Shore Motorsports Park to move its operations to the Shawnigan Lake area. (File photo)

Editorial: New racetrack unlikely to find warm welcome in Shawnigan

There is no doubt this will be a tough facility to find a location for on either side of the Malahat

The West Shore Motorsport Park should look somewhere other than Cowichan for a new location.

News came out this month that the group, formerly headquartered at Western Speedway in Langford which has since been sold for development, is looking at a number of potential properties to build a new home. Two of the possible locations are in Shawnigan Lake.

There is no doubt this will be a tough facility to find a location for on either side of the Malahat. Very few are likely to want this in their backyard. The merit of such a facility as a neighbour versus the drawbacks will have to be up to the community in question.

Which is why they are unlikely to get anywhere in Shawnigan, and should not waste their time. Consider that there is a group of residents in the community who vehemently oppose the construction of a public pathway through the village because they are afraid of impacts to the quiet enjoyment of their properties.

Though there is no application submitted naming any location yet in the Cowichan Valley Regional District, we do know that there is no property in Shawnigan that is currently zoned for such a use. There would have to be a rezoning process, with the required public input opportunities opening the door to an inevitable hue and cry from anyone within many kilometres of a proposed site (because let’s face it, this is a very noisy form of recreation that would most definitely infringe on the quiet of the area).

We know already how the public hearing would go. The past is instructive in this regard. A number of years ago the Cowichan go-kart folks had their eye on a piece of former industrial land in Shawnigan Lake to build a new facility for themselves. Keep in mind this would have been nowhere near the scope of what the current proposed motorsport park would be. The public hearing was packed and lasted for hours. At least 95 per cent of those in attendance were vehemently opposed, with those speaking in favour a small group of go-kart enthusiasts. Arguments ranged from the ridiculous (mythical endangered butterflies, someone so used to trespassing on the property to walk their dog they seemed to feel some sort of ownership), to the more convincing (noise, traffic).

Of course, there is no go-kart facility in Shawnigan.

To think that a new and expanded racetrack facility à la Western Speedway would have any more luck and any warmer a reception is wishful thinking at best.

They might find an interested landowner, but they will not find an interested community.

Editorials