The good, the bad and the racecars
By ROY WOOD
The upsides and downsides of Area 27 came before council Monday in the form of potential revenues for area businesses and the annoyance of noise in this usually tranquil valley community.
Area 27 is a five-kilometre private automobile racetrack situated on Osoyoos Indian Band land just east of the town of Oliver.
It is a high-end club where rich people, mostly from out of town, can drive their racecars. Initiation is $45,000 and annual dues are between $3,000 and $4,000, according to the club’s website. And that doesn’t count the five- and six-figure price tags of the cars.
Two club members, one from Victoria and one from Nelson, applied to council Monday for a long-term lease for a piece of land at the Oliver Airport. They intend to build a substantial hangar to house their private aircraft when they fly into town to use the racetrack.
Council agreed to sign a letter of intent for the lease, which will bring the town about $3,000 per year in revenue.
The applicants will be required to obtain a building permit within six months and will also have to build a taxiway from their hangar to the airport runway.
The downside of having the facility so close to the town is the noise created by the un-muffled 400-horsepower engines roaring around the track at speeds exceeding 200 kilometres per hour.
An email from a resident to council last week said: “There is an especially high level of racetrack noise that can be heard, I’m sure all over the valley (on April 4).
“I’m just wondering if the town can influence track management to put up noise barriers of some sort … promoters originally claimed no noise would be heard.”
Mayor Ron Hovanes said Monday, “(The noise) is probably only going to get worse.”
Chief administrative officer Cathy Cowan said that one other noise complaint came in on the town phone system.
Council agreed to send a letter to Area 27 management advising them of the complaints and asking what their plans are around noise abatement. The letter will be copied to the Osoyoos Indian Band.