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Group has four possible sites for new West Shore race track

A representative from Vancouver Island Safe Speed Association said the sites are all within a 30-minute drive of the Langford track — but the society isn’t releasing the locations.
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Western Speedway, which starts its last season on Saturday, has to vacate its Millstream Road property by the end of October, as the land is being redeveloped. DARREN STONE, TIMES COLONIST

A group trying to find a new home for Western Speedway says it has four potential sites, all within 30 minutes of the current site on Millstream Road.

Steve Copp, who is heading the non-profit Vancouver Island Safe Speed Association, said the four sites range from 50 to 110 acres, but the society isn’t releasing the locations, as it’s in talks with local municipalities.

“It will be an uphill battle,” he said. “If it were easy, anyone could have done it by now.”

The Langford race track, which starts its last season on Saturday, has to vacate the land it’s been sitting on for 60 years by the end of October.

The property is being redeveloped by Strand Properties and Bastion Development, which have promised $2.5 million to help relocate the track.

Copp said terms for the four sites could include everything from outright sale to a lease or profit-sharing arrangements. One of those, if approved, could see racing resume as early as next spring; otherwise it could be two years or longer, Copp said.

On top of any land purchase or lease, Copp said building a new track would cost $15 million to $20 million.

The society is starting to raise funds to finance its administrative work, including the zoning and permitting that would be involved in a new location. Those funds will be raised through 50-50 ticket sales starting at this Saturday’s races.

Copp said the Vancouver Island Safe Speed Association envisions a more diverse motorsport park that not only includes an oval stock car track, but an integrated road course sport circuit for cars and motorcycles, an 1/8-mile drag strip and other features like mud bogs and rock-climbing tracks.

The group also wants to build a 100-stall RV parking area for racers, and another 100-stall RV park that could potentially act as affordable housing for the region.

Copp said the group will have to dismantle the grandstand and store the big pieces, along with the racing walls, lights and other equipment from the track, and is looking for potential sites to do that.

The Victoria Auto Racing Hall of Fame, which chronicles the region’s race history back to the Willows Race Track in 1912, will also have to find a temporary home by the fall, said Copp.

He said the society’s main goal is to preserve the region’s rich history in auto racing, “and at this point we need every hand that we can get.”

The Vancouver Island Safe Speed Society also includes vice-president Jason Frost, treasurer Todd Troyer, legal counsel Jesse Stamm, and directors Daryl Crocker and Darrell Midgley.

dkloster@timescolonist.com