This photo by Douglas Waller shows a Crash To Pass feature race that included 15-foot Fiberglas boats.

This photo by Douglas Waller shows a Crash To Pass feature race that included 15-foot Fiberglas boats.

Black Creek group requests due process in Saratoga application

The Comox Valley Regional District will be reviewing an application to rezone several lots at Saratoga Speedway in Black Creek. Track owners Rob and Lee Leighton hope to build a campground and re-align some property boundaries at the site.

A loosely formed group of Black Creek citizens — the Saratoga Speedway Complex Concerned Citizens — oppose the rezoning, and will deliver a presentation at the Feb. 14 Electoral Areas Services Committee meeting. The group is mainly concerned about potential negative impacts of adding 168 RV campsites, which they equate to “adding a small village to the area.” Members worry that increased traffic will impact the environment, farming, agriculture and emergency services.

The proposal says no new noise will be created from this site; however, according to the Concerned Citizens, locals have noted an increase in noise generated by the track since the Leightons took over in 2020.

READ: Saratoga Speedway sold to Courtenay family

The Leightons plan additional berm work and fencing to help curb noise as part of the campground construction. The couple also enforces speedway rules to require mufflers on all cars.

“We have no plans to change the historical operation of the speedway regardless of the outcome of this application,” Rob said.

The couple has also hired a transportation engineer to assess traffic movements for entrance locations off Macaulay Road and the Island Highway. They are planning a transit bus stop with a park ‘n ride. They have also hired several engineers to review water and sanitary options for the campground, and Strategic Natural Resource Consultants Ltd. to review environmental features on the site.

“No key fish or other habitat were noted,” Rob said.

Concerned Citizens member Jonathan Brenner said the group has gathered more than 600 signatures on a petition. They are requesting a moratorium on the rezoning of five properties.

“There are big gaps in the rezoning application,” Brenner said. “We need some due process happening.”

The group said it is worrisome and unacceptable that the CVRD has not completed a Local Area Plan (LAP) that supports the proposed changes.

The CVRD said the planning process for the Saratoga Beach LAP was paused in 2017 because servicing studies needed to be conducted. In the absence of an LAP, which is not required, local governments look to Official Community Plans and Regional Growth Strategies for policy guidance.

The EASC meeting begins at 10 a.m. Monday, Feb. 14.

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