Area 27 to address noise with ‘better mufflers’
By ROY WOOD
According to the top guy at the Area 27 race track east of Oliver, the solution to fears of noise from roaring engines is as simple as putting better mufflers on the loudest cars and motorcycles.
Area 27 president and general manager Bill Drossos told town council Monday the track has conducted extensive testing of the sound levels emanating from the site.
He said cars and motorcycles that emit sound at the 100-decibel level could barely be heard in town. When noise levels, measured near the track, reach 110 decibels locals “might hear something.”
As a result, he said, the track “is probably going to set a limit, probably at around 104 decibels. … (We’ll just) tell these guys to ‘put a better muffler on that car.’”
Drossos was invited to speak to council following an April meeting at which concerns were raised about noise heard in the town on the April 4 weekend.
On Monday, Drossos didn’t address the noise issue until asked about it by a member of council.
Instead, he spent most of his time extolling the benefits of Area 27 to the Oliver and Osoyoos business communities, particularly hotels, wineries, restaurants and high-end auto mechanics.
He noted “six to eight million dollars in real estate transactions,” as Area 27 club members purchase recreational properties or, in some cases, move here.
He described the club as “just like a yacht club or a golf club,” for people who like to drive fast cars. At a $45,000 entry fee and $3,000 to $4,000 in annual dues, it would be a pretty exclusive golf club.
Sales have been brisk, Drossos indicated, with just 57 left from a capped membership of 300. He expects the sell the remainder by the end of the year.
Wineries, particularly those with attached restaurants, stand to do a lot of business from Area 27 members and from the various “corporate events” the venue is actively seeking. Drossos described a recent corporate outing at which one of the wealthy diners was so taken by a local Riesling that he bought the entire vintage.
The spillover publicity received by the South Okanagan from Area 27 coverage in high-end auto magazines will be considerable, he said. “”(These editors) are going to expose the Okanagan to the whole world.”
At least one area mechanic shop has “changed its business model” to specialize in Area 27 member racecars. Storing and taking care of these cars has become something of a cottage industry, he said.
Drossos described the attached driving school – Academy 27 – as “probably the top driver training (school) in North America.” A notable achievement, having opened in September last year and being closed for the winter.
The school, he pointed out, is now open to the public and even has some cars – BMWs and Cameros – available or those without their own race car. A two-and-a-half day course costs $2,600 plus GST, not including car rental.