I am who I am because of the Langley Speedway

The foundation of the racing lifestyle has four pillars of equal value: respect, safety, competition and fun

Editor, The News:

Re: Speedway reopening on agenda (The News, April 19).

I strongly support the proposal to look into the reopening of Langley Speedway.

I started going to Langley Speedway as a nine-year-old in 1967,  attending until the track closed in 1984.

Over the years, my stepfather and five uncles drove regularly at the speedway. My family and I spent a considerable amount of time at the track; I take pride in telling people, “I grew up at Langley Speedway.”

I am who I am today because of the environment I was raised in. I am thankful for that opportunity. Such an environment does not exist today anywhere near what it was; that is unfortunate, it is missed.

I believe the foundation of the racing lifestyle has four pillars of equal value: respect, safety, competition and fun. If I were to add a fifth, it would be generosity. I believe I am living a successful life because for the most part I like to keep things in line with these values.

I know many other successful people that have shared a similar experience. They feel the same way and are looking forward to the possibility of having a track again to enjoy and share all the benefits such a facility would bring.

A legacy of the old speedway that closed 29 years ago is the strong reputation Langley still has for being extremely friendly to car enthusiasts, and the economic benefits of that well deserved reputation.

Many local businesses that employ a large number of people exist today because Langley Speedway existed yesterday. It really is that simple.

Langley is a diverse community that is the self-proclaimed ‘Horse Capital of Canada,’ but could just as easily proclaim themselves the ‘Car Enthusiast’s Capital of Canada.’

I remember how threatened the racing community felt in 1969, when the track was sold for the purpose of becoming a park. Even though assurances were given, complete with long-term lease and renewal options, the proverbial ‘stuff’ hit the fan and ultimately, for a variety of debatable reasons the track closed.

I have seen some of the responses to the proposal for returning racing to the facility and I understand the fear of the equestrian community. I remember how I felt as a kid when I thought I was going to lose my race track.

All the motorsports community is asking for is less than two per cent of the park for less than four per cent of the year.

In exchange they will restore the facility at no cost to the taxpayer for multi-purpose use and create a revenue stream for the Metro Vancouver park system.

I truly believe all issues can and should be worked through. The racing community’s contributions to the park will actually enhance the experience in a variety of ways for the equestrian people and other park users.

This is a park that is funded by the tax payers of the Metro Vancouver Area for the use of the general public and it is under utilized.

Once the facility is restored it could also host other events such as live theatre and concerts – no where else in the Metro Vancouver area does such an outdoor facility exist in a natural bowl that comfortably can seat up to 10,000 people.

I will be disappointed if this proposal is not supported.

Dan Olson

Maple Ridge