LETTER: Bringing drag races back to Alberni’s airport ‘shortsighted’, says writer

A city like Port Alberni…needs a fully functioning airport

To the Editor,

I was somewhat dismayed to read in the Dec. 6 edition of the Alberni Valley News that a proposal is in place to reconsider the use of the Alberni Valley Airport for drag racing.

My objections are:

• The amount of rubber left behind on the pavement is substantial and it becomes thicker every time there is a race. This buildup is slippery when wet which is obviously not good for aircraft landing and taking off; we are not talking just at the starting point of the run, race cars lay rubber all the time power is at the rear wheels.

• The rubber peels off in some places leaving chunks that could possibly be ingested by jet powered aircraft; that would without doubt be very costly.

• Cleaning. Please do not be misled if you are told that this rubber can be cleaned / removed from the pavement, this is not the case. I was there when they tried it after the last drag race at the airport and we watched it very closely. Yes it did remove the rubber, but did extensive damage to the pavement. A couple of passes with the cleaner would lay to waste the time, effort and expense of developing a fine and useful airport.

The AVDRA is hoping to possibly run four races per year. That means the airport would be shut down for at least days during the summer. This is the height of the recreational season for aircraft visiting the Alberni Valley and would certainly impact the current glider operation and other commercial users. The idea for the airport improvements, lighting, GPS approach and a new runway was to help attract an increase in airport traffic, shutting down the airport for a drag race is not going to help us achieve that goal.

A city like Port Alberni that is trying to attract business and investment needs a fully functioning airport 24 / 7.

If drag racing is such a good business model, how about the drag racing association build their own dedicated drag strip instead of ruining our airport?

This appears to be a very shortsighted endeavour.

Ivan Whitticase,

Port Alberni

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