Election candidates talk about Mission Raceway Park.

ELECTION 2014: Council candidates support Mission Raceway Park

DISTRICT OF MISSION: Candidates rank their support for MRP on a scale of 1-5

Thousands of people come to Mission every year to visit Mission Raceway Park. The drag racing facility was built in 1992 and is one of the fastest tracks in the Pacific Northwest.

Nearly everyone running for Mission council agree it is a vital part in the community. When asked to rate their support of the track on a scale of one to five, with one being the lowest, most candidates who responded to The Record’s emailed question ranked their support at a four or five.

Respondents who rated their support level at five were mayoral candidates  Tony Luck and Randy Hawes, and council candidates Pam Alexis, Shazad Shah, Terry Gidda, Rhett Nicholson, Rich Vigurs, Danny Plecas, Larry Nundal, and Jim Hinds.

Hawes stated, “I support the Mission Raceway, however, it is important to note that the district attempted to shut down the raceway nearly 25 years ago and wound up in a lawsuit that was lost very badly. The raceway has a right to be there as confirmed by the BC Supreme Court.”

“It’s an important feature in Mission,” said Luck. “We need to find a way to enhance to drive tourism and bring more people out here.”

Shah noted, “As a supporter of building tourism, the race track is an attraction that brings people from all over, and with it, tourism dollars. Yes, there are noise complaints on the weekends, but it brings so many people to town and it is a perfect venue to change people’s opinion of Mission.”

Mission Raceway Park caters to different groups and organizations, such as street racers and dirt bikers, added Vigurs. “It even caters to the road cyclists through the Phoenix Velo Club.”

Incumbent Mayor Ted Adlem and mayoral candidates Wendy Bales and Kevin Francis rated their support for the track at a four. Candidates for councillor who also chose four as their level support were Carol Hamilton, Michael Nenn, Barry Jeske, Dave Hensman, Terry Stobbart, and Jenny Stevens.

“Mission Raceway Park is a huge community supporter,” said Adlem. “They allowed the 2014 BC Winter Games to use their facility at no charge and (have) allowed (Mission Arts Council) to have their haunted house there at no charge.”

Bales admitted she is not a fan of racing, but said she recognizes it is a good venue for those who are.

“… not all are happy with the noise, as as with most things, there is always room for some improvement,” she said.

“At raceway events, spectators spend an estimated $130 per day off the grounds,” said Francis. “Economic development officer Stacey Crawford has called it “an under appreciated asset … Residents do complain about the noise, but these complaints can be mitigated.”

“Having a safe alternative to street racing is certainly in the best public interest,” said Nenn.

“I think the raceway brings some good unique elements to Mission,” noted Hensman. “It’s possible that as the town grows, a better location may need to be looked at in the future.”

Council candidates who ranked their support for the race track at three were Don Forsythe, Ronn Harris, and Attila Davalovsky.

“This is only because at present, I have yet to explore their full potential to add to the value of the overall community,” explained Harris.

The Record did not receive responses  from council candidates Jeff Jewell and Bobby Brar.

For more local election coverage, go to missioncityrecord.com/municipalelection