The level of opposition to the work being done on Stamp Avenue on behalf of Thunder in the Valley is disappointing.
The City of Port Alberni stepped up earlier this year and offered Stamp Avenue as a new venue for the annual August drag racing event when Alberni Drag Racing Association’s contract at the regional airport was cancelled. The races cannot be held at the airport this year because of runway expansion construction.
The city saw value in keeping the drag races running, and the rest of the community should too.
An economic impact study conducted a few years ago showed the race brings in $1.2 million to the community despite being held at the airport. Losing that money, even for one season, is not insubstantial.
The AVDRA had a 10-year contract with the Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District to use the airport, so it’s not like they weren’t planning ahead. They looked for another venue when their contract was cancelled, but the deal fell through. For the naysayers who think the drag racers are getting something for nothing, they have spent thousands of dollars over the years to create race-specific infrastructure at the airport, which is useless to them this year. They are also spending money to hold the event in town.
People complaining that the money would have been better spent fixing the city’s roads should take a hard look at how much—or how little—asphalt was laid down when the medians were removed. The $73,000 would not have made much of a difference.
Holding the event on Stamp Avenue will give the AVDRA some time to think about the future. Maybe that includes the airport, maybe not.
Re-directing city funds to help out an organization that through no fault of its own was forced to relocate this year is being a good community player. Complaining about it incessantly is not.