Dialogue aids racing vision

Opinions on racing vary, but all involved must be given a voice.

A campaign to reopen Cassidy Speedway faces more than a few speed bumps, but one Nanaimo racing enthusiast is taking the high road in trying to accomplish it.

The speedway, with its track, grandstands and adjacent go-kart facility closed in 1999 amidst a sea of controversy involving noise complaints from neighbours and Regional District of Nanaimo zoning regulations.

Mona-Lisa Carstensen wants to return the speedway to its glory days with full crowds taking in the races, some staying the weekend at the nearby Mountainaire campsite.

But instead of playing the victim – the racetrack was there long before development started to spring up along Spruston Road – Carstensen wants to hear from everyone involved and get their take on the issue.

Gathering information from opponents and those who would like to see the speedway return only makes sense if any proposal is going to work.

Learn from the mistakes of the past and work with all stakeholders to come up with a plan that can please, if not everybody, then at least the majority.

It’s not as if neighbours have no say and are going to be hearing the roar of stock cars any time soon.

The property is zoned Rural 9, permitting agriculture, home-based businesses and residential use. Rezoning would require a bylaw change which would include a public hearing.

But for the number of neighbours who would voice opposition, there are many more people who are serious about racing and would like to see the facility brought back to life.

The idea may run out of gas and stall, but understanding the issues is the correct first step.