Drag racers in Port Alberni have set their sights on a permanent track outside of the city.
The Alberni-Clayoquot Regional District board agreed during a meeting on Thursday, Oct. 13 to provide a letter of support for the Alberni Valley Drag Racing Association’s (AVDRA) proposal to Mosaic Forest Management to lease the former Link Mill site on Franklin River Road for a drag racing track.
In a letter to the board, AVDRA executive members explained that after their charity cruise in 2021, Tseshaht First Nation helped them approach Mosaic with the idea of leasing the Link Mill site.
At Mosaic’s request, they joined the other three drag racing associations on the Island (the North Island Timing Association, the South Island Straight Liners Racing Association and the Vancouver Island Motorsports Association) and worked together to look at a permanent track.
The AVDRA says they have now received “the go ahead” to submit a formal proposal for the site.
Drag racers previously used the Alberni Valley Regional Airport for their annual “Thunder in the Valley” event, but this contract was terminated by the ACRD back in 2015 because of the airport’s expansion. The races were held on Stamp Avenue for a few years, but this was not economically viable for the AVDRA due to the shortened track and construction of a new remanufacturing plant on land that had been used for the pits. The AVDRA applied for a three-year lease at the airport following the expansion, but this was halted by the provincial government.
“It makes me very happy to actually see this coming forward,” said ACRD director Penny Cote on Oct. 13. “The airport really wasn’t a good location for that. I am so thrilled that they’ve found a place.”
Acting board chair John McNabb said the Link Mill site is ideal because it already has access to water and power.
In their letter to the board, AVDRA members suggest that the site could be used for drag racing, circle track racing and drifting, as well as markets, music festivals and more.