Racers from the Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association set up a display and table at the Alberni Co-op members’ day to ask people to sign their petition for the drag races to return to the Alberni Valley Regional Airport. ANNETTE CLEMENT PHOTO

Alberni drag racers petition for return to the airport

AVDRA hosted their annual Thunder in the Valley drag racing event for 15 years at the airport

The Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association has started a petition to bring drag racing back to Port Alberni’s regional airport.

The AVDRA hosted their annual Thunder in the Valley drag racing event for 15 years at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport, from 2001-2015. When the airport runway was expanded in 2016-17, the event moved temporarily to Stamp Avenue in the middle of Port Alberni, downsizing from a full quarter-mile drag strip to an eighth-mile strip.

Earlier this spring they had already been given the green light to return to the airport for 2019 when the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District, which owns and operates the airport, suddenly reversed its decision in an in camera meeting.

No reason was given for the reversal, and since the vote was taken in camera, the ACRD board is not required to divulge details of the vote.

READ: Drag racers ‘blindsided’ by Alberni-Clayoquot RD’s denial to use regional airport

Roger Haggerty is an AVDRA member who wants to see the drag races return to the airport.

“My task is to try and get us back to the airport,” he said. A drag racer himself, Haggerty is also soliciting support to build a permanent motor sports facility somewhere in the Alberni Valley.

A website has been set up for the petition at SaveAlberniDragRacing.com. There is an information page, and another page where people can write their support—those are also e-mailed to both the City of Port Alberni and Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District.

The AVDRA is asking for a five-year commitment at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport. “Anywhere from two to five years would be ideal,” Haggerty said. “The idea is to get back there and raise money to pay for something more permanent.”

The biggest cost to a permanent facility will be clearing a piece of land large enough for a quarter-mile drag strip and return road. Haggerty said such a facility is not just a pipe dream for racers.

“We have more than one place identified. We’re actively looking; it’s a process.” He declined to identify where the possible sites are, saying it’s too early in the process.

A group in Campbell River has been pushing to build a permanent motor sports facility at the airport in Campbell River further north on Vancouver Island; they were recently turned down and there has been talk of a significant chunk of money coming available. Haggerty said he has spoken to the Campbell River group and the reality is they want to build in their own community.

The petition is the second item in the AVDRA’s pitch for support to bring the drags back to the airport. People in the Alberni Valley last week began receiving a Thunder in the Valley fact sheet that was mailed to every address in and around the city.

The third part is a formal petition that AVDRA members will be taking to various events this summer. They were at the Westwind Pub’s annual classic car show n’ shine on June 2 and at the Alberni Co-op Member Appreciation Day event at the Alberni Fairgrounds on June 8.

Association members also planned to be in Qualicum Beach on the weekend at a car show asking people from outside the community to sign the petition, to show there is widespread support for bringing the event back.

The AVDRA hopes to gather signatures from the mail out, website and formal petition, then present it to the ACRD board at a future meeting, Haggerty said.

While the 2019 Thunder in the Valley drag races have been cancelled, Haggerty said the association is already looking at their options for 2020 regardless of whether Alberni’s airport is available.

 

The Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association has mailed Thunder in the Valley fact sheets and petition information to everyone in the Alberni Valley. SUSAN QUINN PHOTO

Just Posted

Alberni drag racers travel to Port McNeill for event on airport runway

More than 20 drag racers from the Alberni Valley travelled to Port… Continue reading

Watch the museum come to life with Our Town in Port Alberni

July 23 event takes place at Gyro Recreation Park

Learn the art of songwriting with musician John Pippus

Writing workshop, performance at Words on Fire highlight a trip to Alberni

Descend to the depths of diving history in Port Alberni

New exhibit opens at Maritime Discovery Centre

BCHL: Alberni Valley Bulldogs have been sold

Victoria company has purchased BCHL team, but will keep it in Port Alberni

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read