Sahtlam residents upset new off-road racetrack operating without permit
A community on the mid-island is in an uproar after finding out a new off-road test track was built without a permit.
The Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit has transformed an old logging road in the Cowichan Valley into an 800-metre off-road track.
According to a nearby community, the expansion was done without permission.
“They have a facility that is illegal right now because it was built without the proper permits,” said Mariah Wallener, a member of the Sahtlam Neighbourhood Association.
This isn’t the first time the GAIN Dealer Group has been unpopular in the area, previous complaints were over the noise levels at the racetrack.
Staff say the track is complying with noise bylaws and they’ve even installed a sound meter.
“As soon as a car registers a sound of 101 decibels we black flag that vehicle and pull it off the track and the owner is advised he must make adjustments to the sound before it’s allowed to return to the circuit,” track operation manager, Brent Evans, said.
The company says it wasn’t aware its new off-road course would be a problem.
“We activate a logging road, we didn’t think that it is necessarily a disturbance to anybody, but obviously the district has asked us to go for permits and to apply for permits and we will,” GAIN CEO Peter Trzewik said.
The municipality of North Cowichan confirmed it has received complaints and says staff are working with the owners to get the proper permits in place.
“The permits will be issued if they can meet all the requirements,” North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure said.
The mayor says the company may also have to undergo an environmental assessment.
“There are some environmental concerns with the creek there and whether or not there’s water that’s being diverted into there,” Wallener said.
The issue will go before council on Wednesday.
With files from CTV Vancouver Island's Jessica Lepp