LETTER: Thunder in the Valley deserves to return to Alberni Valley’s airport

Airport is the perfect place for proper 1/4-mile drag racing strip, says racer

To the Editor,

Re: Drag races could return to Stamp Avenue in 2019, March 27.

Former mayor Mike Ruttan states returning Thunder in the Valley “isn’t fair to the users of the airport and it certainly is not fair to the staff of the ACRD. “ WOW!

The users of the airport are a select few who use the taxpayer-owned aerodrome for free for their own personal gain. The staff of the ACRD are employed by the taxpayers. What about fairness to the people who benefit from the race and supported it for 16 years without issue?

Thunder in the Valley brought tens of thousands of dollars to the local economy benefiting local businesses, clubs and charities. It has been the most successful event ever held in Port Alberni and brought more people, money and benefits to our town than McLean Mill and the Tall Ships festivals combined, at no cost to the taxpayer.

Ruttan supports the current airport users who continue to bleed the taxpayers and pay nothing rather than a club who’s members and volunteers donate their hard work, time and money to an event that benefits everyone? Again, Wow!

The Alberni Valley Regional Airport does not collect user fees. Even the ACRD-owned airport in Tofino has parking fees. Why do the local old boys’ club get to use the taxpayer-owned airport for free and the taxpayers who paid for the $8 million expansion are told no?

Our property taxes are some of the highest in B.C. because we continue to subsidize and invest in projects that have no financial return. This needs to end.

Thunder in the Valley is famous. It brought people together to a town that they would have otherwise never come to. Those people made new friends, great memories and spent a lot of money and they can again.

This cannot be accomplished on Stamp Avenue because of the lack of shut down for fast cars. Without fast cars you won’t get a lot of money spending spectators.

It’s time to get back to the airport where for 16 years none of this was an issue. Why is it now? Greed. It’s time to do what’s right for the entire Valley, not just a select few.

It’s time to make some noise either on the track or off. It’s time for some Thunder in the Valley!

It’s time for your elected ACRD officials to take a stand on this issue as well. If you don’t agree you can remedy that at election time.

Dyan Lover,

Port Alberni

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