Is There a Better Location?

Is There a Better Location?

Re: City to seek alternative location for drag strip

The City’s news release (see below) has stirred up a lot of negative feedback. Let’s take a positive approach because there is significant good in the news release.  The economic impact study shows the benefit to the City.  Vancouver Island MotorSports Association (VIMSA) is looking forward to continuing to work with the City to make this project a reality.  This is a good time to address the publics major concerns.


Sound was the first thing to be considered before proceeding.  The City & VIMSA shared the cost of the approximately $10,000 report. RWDI Consulting, a worldwide expert in understanding when sound becomes noise, conducted the assessment. The location of the sophisticated measuring devices was chosen to give a realistic result. Our objective was to identify the sound of the race car. We accomplished that, and they identified the race car at 50.2 decibels. For comparison, a minivan travelling 40 kph traveling down a residential road measures 55-60 decibels. (See the attached)

The actual proposed airport location has natural terrain that will reduce the sound transmission toward the residential areas.  As well, we are committed to building a sound berm and sound wall if necessary. We will not build in an area that creates a sound issue. Also, very few of the race cars will be as loud as the example used for the test, and many participants race their street car. Major events will take place three or four times a year. Be aware that all the land between the airport and the highway is zoned for industrial use.


Taxpayer Money

VIMSA has never asked for any taxpayer money. We have only asked to partner with the City to build on their land. We are willing to invest $5,000,000 to improve a piece of unused previously cleared land providing items like roads, taxiways, paved parking areas and mowed grass areas. The Open House information said we could request that the road and fence be supplied. This facility will bring between $2.2 and $5 million to the local economy annually. All we have ever asked for is the use of the land. The land in question is not for sale, but available for lease (with no demand in the market).

First Nations Consultation

We have engaged with the Homalco, We Wai Kai, and Wei Wai Kum First Nations. They have not indicated any opposition to the project and are interested in the economic opportunities it may bring.

Airport Land Grant

When the Campbell River Airport Authority was formed as a condition to get some of the funding for the runway extension and terminal building revamp in 2011, the objective was to run the airport like a business.  In 2014, Tetra Tech EBA Inc., an industry leader in airport consulting, was commissioned to create an Airport Master Plan.

The Master Plan includes provisions for non-aviation uses including motor sport park. The words “for airport purposes” that appear in the 1966 land transfer documents were not taken into consideration for the City’s current Airport 1 Zoning “Permitted Uses”. The condition that is imposed is that the land is only for lease, not for sale. There is no need to have the land removed from the land grant as long the airport still exists. There are many examples of racing facilities at airports throughout BC and Canada.  Some are permanent like Fort St. John, and others are temporary like Thunder in the Valley was at the Port Alberni Airport, and Rumble on the Runway in Port McNeill.

Find A Need and Fill It

To sum up, “find a need and fill it” is said to be six words to success.  With a population of 750,000 on the Island, there is a need for a facility of this type.  Currently Port McNeill closes their airport for three weekends a year to allow drag racing events.  Port Alberni holds their annual “Thunder in the Valley” event on a downtown street.  These events are well attended by participants and spectators.  We could have the only permanent facility on the Island.  Demographics of the typical participant and spectator show the very type of people that would love what Campbell River has to offer. My concern with looking for another location is that it will take the project to another municipality, leaving people to say once again “Campbell River missed another opportunity”.


  1. The natural lay of the land and our commitment to sound control strategies will ensure that sound is not an issue.
  2. Taxpayer money has not been asked for.
  3. First Nations consultation has taken place with no formal opposition.
  4. Airport Land Grant “for airport purposes” is not violated as long as the airport exists.

We strongly feel that “sober second thought” be given to this project. In the history of the initial building of the Campbell River Airport it is said that “imagination and the local “can do” spirit won out”.   Let’s show that we are willing to “live and let live” and enjoy the benefits of this attraction.

VIMSA was incorporated under the BC Societies Act on January 13, 2016 as a not for profit organization. Our purpose is to organize motorsports-oriented individuals to promote the development of a facility on Vancouver Island that is comprised of a dragstrip as well as facilities that complement a multi-use aspect for automobile mobility and tourism and motor sport. 

Contact: Jim Johnson, President, Vancouver Island MotorSports Association


See the City of Campbell River News Release below:


  • Bob Hughes
    Posted at 19:35h, 02 May Reply

    Great to hear and read your positive take on what we perceive asa negative outcome on alot of hard work over the past three years.What can we do now to put pressure on city staff to get them for reconsider their decision.

  • Chris Stone
    Posted at 20:01h, 02 May Reply

    Racers from across the province and beyond are waiting for this facility to be built. The possibilities are endless as to how much money this would bring to the local economy.

  • Scott McNally
    Posted at 15:53h, 03 May Reply

    The “inland highway” to the Campbell River Airport turn off is perfect. This highway was built to accommodate traffic. We’ve all driven it. Right!
    With all trailer traffic exiting to the airport, the only additional traffic in town would probably be single vehicle for retail sales and tourism.
    Meals, accommodations, stores, recreation centre , parts outlets etc.
    This is the ideal location !!

  • Merle T Graff
    Posted at 18:13h, 05 October Reply

    It has always been very hard for me to understand how so few a people representing us, can denigh something that would benifit so many ? To me and probably to many others it is a bad business proposal on the part of the council ! The economic value to the area is huge ! I used to volinteer for many years at the Alberni Drag Races and saw spectaters come from as far away as Victoria and many Racers that I personally know come from the Vancouver area to race the quarter mile track. The attendance at the Port Alberni Track was in the 15,00o attendance, and Port also missed out on a very good opertuneity? We just want a place to Race?

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VIMSA brings motorsports enthusiasts together to create a permanent drag racing facility on Vancouver Island.