The battle is heating up. Letters are being written and phone calls being made. It would seem that the Saratoga/Miracle Beach community residents are recognizing what Saratoga Speedway’s Comprehensive Development Zone proposal could actually mean for the community. And they don’t like it. Week after week after week of three or four days each week all summer with noisy gas engines, screeching tires, and increased traffic has had its impact.
From the day the development proposal was made official publicly, the backers have tried to claim that the changes sought are “to regularize the existing speedway and accessory uses and to permit a new campground.” Although a clever approach that attempts to minimize the impact, it would seem clear that the main motivation behind the expansive (and expensive) changes is not to give fans a well-deserved break from COVID restrictions, but to grow crowd size and, ultimately, Vancouver Island auto racing.
So it is not just the return of an old speedway track with an added 168 site RV park. It appears to be an attempt to create a much larger destination complex that brings with it all the old downsides (noise, traffic, exhaust, water use) but on a much larger scale. Why else list a splash park, craft brewery, performing arts facility, etc. in the proposal? And it should be noted that Western Speedway (Victoria) has announced only one more year of racing. Where do people think those racing teams are going to be attracted to with nicely refurbished, shiny facilities? Saratoga Speedway’s growth would seem inevitable if the proposal goes through. The Regional Growth Strategy mentions “coastal tourism” for the area. This would be a far cry from the beachfront motels the community now enjoys.
Finally, since noise enters every discussion related to the topic, claims that race cars with mufflers shall make a substantial difference to the noise issue is being taken just as seriously as the earlier claims that the new fence surrounding the track would do the same. The fence has turned out to be a colossal waste of money as a method of noise reduction. Perhaps it was simply a safety fence to begin with?