Campaign to reopen Cassidy Speedway hits roadblocks

NANAIMO – Campaign to open Cassidy Speedway hits roadblocks.

Cassidy Speedway will remain a ghost track.

A campaign to reopen the track hit some roadblocks and Mona-Lisa Carstensen, who started the effort last summer, has ended her pursuit of the project.

She hasn’t abandoned the idea entirely, but has changed her focus.

Ideas for the future include the creation of the first green track on Vancouver Island or creating an environmentally safe multiplex facility, which could include racing electric or hybrid vehicles.

“I’m taking the time to research new ideas that not only benefit our community but also our environment,” Carstensen said via e-mail. “Automotive racing is one of the alternative methods I see as being useful in the intervention, motivation, encouragement and growth of youth that may not necessarily want to partake in the arts-centred community programs or community drop-in sports activities.”

Since embarking on the campaign, her vision for the raceway evolved.

Carstensen and a group of about 15 dedicated volunteers were contemplating building a community hall, creating horseback riding trails and an off-leash dog park for community members to use between racing events. Plans were to hold about eight race events a year in the summer.

The project faced opposition from neighbours concerned about noise, traffic, environmental impacts and garbage. The rezoning application also called for environmental studies, including a hydrogeologist and biologist survey. The group didn’t have the money to cover those costs.

Carstensen said racing on the Island is in jeopardy as more housing developments are built closer to the existing tracks, such as Western Speedway in Victoria.

Cassidy Speedway previously included a quarter-mile dirt oval, a 300-foot sand drag course and a paved kart sprint course. The oval track opened in 1972. The kart track opened around 1994 and the sand drags in 1996. The entire facility closed in 1999.

reporter3@nanaimobulletin.com

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