NEWS

Langley Speedway revival sputters to a halt

07/11/2013 08:15 EDT | Updated 09/10/2013 05:12 EDT
Metro Vancouver has put the brakes on bringing car racing back to the Langley Speedway.

On Thursday, the environment and parks committee voted 10 to three against proceeding with a feasibility study on restoring the old track to its former glory.

Opponents have argued that bringing back the speedway, which was open from 1969 to 1984, would bring noise and crowds to the area and spoil the park's atmosphere, particularly for those who ride horses along the trails in nearby Campbell Valley Regional Park.

"The speedway society was proposing 14 race days on the weekend and that would have greatly impacted our riders," said Michelle Meacher, executive director of Pacific Riding for Development Abilities, a group that uses horseback riding as therapy for people with disabilities.

"The one major issue is, things have changed here over the last 30 years since the racing stopped, with trees springing up and more than 700,000 visitors a year," she said.

The Langley Speedway was once a crown jewel of car racing in the area, hosting events as big as NASCAR. But the track now sits empty, having closed nearly three decades ago due to failing popularity.

Murray Jones, president of the Langley Speedway Historical Society, has been pushing to bring the track back since 2006, saying it would help generate money for the parks.

"Just because they have said no to the idea of bringing stock car racing to that particular location doesn't mean it is not significant or an important part of the community," he said.

Jones said he was exploring the possibility of opening a speedway in the nearby city of Mission.

"It's a great family-oriented activity," he said. "It is something that needs to happen in the Lower Mainland and I hope the historical society can work with some place that will be more suitable."

But Carla Robin, president of the Langley Horse and Farm Federation, said she was relieved the speedway won't be revived in Langley.

"Common sense prevailed and they stuck to what the parks are all about," she said. "Protecting nature, ecology and the environment."

MORE:cbcNews