Drag racers and supporters silently protested the loss of Thunder in the Valley with T-shirts during the Valley Street Rods show n’ shine at Harbour Quay on Friday, Aug. 9. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO

Drag racers and supporters silently protested the loss of Thunder in the Valley with T-shirts during the Valley Street Rods show n’ shine at Harbour Quay on Friday, Aug. 9. MIKE YOUDS PHOTO

Drag racers ask for three-year lease at Alberni Valley Airport to race

AVDRA is pursuing a location for a permanent drag racing facility in Port Alberni

Drag racers in the Alberni Valley are hoping to open a permanent facility in the City of Port Alberni within the next few years.

But first, the Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association (AVDRA) wants to return to the Alberni Valley Regional Airport.

The annual Thunder in the Valley drag races were silenced in 2019 after the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District (ACRD) board denied the AVDRA’s application to hold the races at the airport during a controversial in-camera meeting. Although the city approved the use of Stamp Avenue for the drag races, the AVDRA decided to cancel the event, citing a lack of space and a loss of funds.

READ MORE: Drag races will not return to Alberni Valley airport

READ MORE: Drag racers cancel Thunder in the Valley for 2019

READ MORE: Drag racing in Port Alberni stuck in park

Dave Beecroft, vice president of the AVDRA, brought the association’s proposal for drag racing in 2020 to the ACRD board on Wednesday, Dec. 11. The AVDRA is asking for a three-year lease at the airport in order to raise funds to build a permanent track in Port Alberni, with the support of the city.

After this year’s disappointment, Beecroft said the AVDRA is looking at a “new direction” for the future.

“We understood that we’ll never get back to a permanent location at the airport,” he said. “We know that will never happen.”

In the fall of this year, the association started meeting with members of Port Alberni’s city council, including Mayor Sharie Minions, to discuss the possibility of building a permanent drag strip in town. They have identified several potential locations, although Beecroft did not want to discuss them yet.

Minions said there is “general support” from Port Alberni’s city council to build a permanent drag strip within city limits.

“We do see a very realistic chance that in the next two years, we could have a permanent drag strip in the city of Port Alberni,” she said on Wednesday.

Beecroft said that the AVDRA has talked to most of the leaseholders at the Alberni Valley Regional Airport about the proposed three-year lease, although they are still waiting to hear back from a few.

“No one has said ‘no’ so far,” said Beecroft.

The request will be brought to the Alberni Valley and Bamfield Services Committee meeting in January, after which it will come back to the ACRD board for a final decision. The AVDRA has asked for a decision to be made in January so that they can start fundraising.

“I think they got our message,” said Beecroft after the meeting.

He pointed out that Stamp Avenue was not an ideal location for the drag races because it interrupted traffic in town, and a permanent position at the airport will not be possible. So the AVDRA is looking in a new direction, searching for a “low impact area” within city limits to host a permanent facility.

“We’re not giving up,” he said. “We really want to race.”

A petition that has been travelling around the Alberni Valley since the summer has garnered more than 6,000 signatures supporting the return of the annual Thunder in the Valley drag races.

“We know we have the community’s support,” Beecroft said on Wednesday.



elena.rardon@albernivalleynews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Island Health chief medical officer Dr. Richard Stanwick receives a first dose of Pfizer vaccine, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
COVID-19: B.C. seniors aged 90+ can start to sign up for vaccination on March 8

Long-term care residents protected by shots already given

The Alberni Valley’s Emergency Operations Centre is located around the corner and below the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District office. (AV NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District tests new mobile alert system

Residents can still sign up for free Voyent Alert! emergency messaging

Crews respond to a structure fire in the 6000 block of Renton Road in Cherry Creek on Saturday, Feb. 27. (FACEBOOK PHOTO)
Workshop destroyed in Cherry Creek fire

Crews stayed on scene overnight fighting ‘stubborn’ blaze

(NEWS FILE PHOTO)
Tax error in 2020 means lower rate for residents in 2021

Alberni’s taxation for regional library accidently written down twice

Part of a new housing development proposal for the former Alberni District Secondary School site. (SCREENSHOT)
Housing gap widens in Port Alberni

Vancouver Island city suffers from ‘missing middle’ to housing density

Langley resident Carrie MacKay shared a video showing how stairs are a challenge after spending weeks in hospital battling COVID-19 (Special to Langley Advance Times)
VIDEO: Stairs a challenge for B.C. woman who chronicled COVID-19 battle

‘I can now walk for six (to) 10 minutes a day’

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation, May 8, 2020. (B.C. government photo)
B.C.’s weekend COVID-19 cases: 532 Saturday, 508 Sunday, 438 Monday

Fraser Health still has most, eight more coronavirus deaths

B.C. Attorney General David Eby speaks in the legislature, Dec. 7, 2020. Eby was given responsibility for housing after the October 2020 provincial election. (Hansard TV)
B.C. extends COVID-19 rent freeze again, to the end of 2021

‘Renoviction’ rules tightened, rent capped to inflation in 2022

Face mask hangs from a rear-view mirror. (Black Press image)
B.C. CDC unveils guide on how to carpool during the pandemic

Wearing masks, keeping windows open key to slowing the spread of COVID-19

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Churches, including Langley’s Riverside Calvary Church, are challenging the regulations barring them from holding in-person worship services during COVID-19. (Langley Advance Times file)
Det. Sgt. Jim Callender. (Hamilton Police Service screenshot)
B.C. man dead, woman seriously injured after shooting in Hamilton, Ont.

The man was in the process of moving to the greater Toronto area, police say

Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hills using a homemade trip camera. Vancouver Island is home to approximately 800 cougars, which makes up about a quarter of the total population in B.C. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Wildlife advocate Gary Schroyen captured this picture of a one-year-old cougar in the Sooke Hill using a homemade trip camera. Schroyen presents Animal Signs: The Essence of Animal Communication on Nov. 30. (Gary Schroyen photo)
Declining Vancouver Island cougar populations linked to wolves

Large carnivore specialist says human development still plays biggest role on cougar numbers

Most Read