A second night at the public hearing into an expansion plan for the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit turned into a marathon of speakers. (Warren Goulding/Citizen)

North Cowichan says no to Motorsport Circuit expansion

North Cowichan councillors have put the brakes on a controversial expansion plan

North Cowichan councillors have put the brakes on a controversial expansion plan for the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit.

After a marathon public hearing that lasted for more than 13 hours over two days, council voted 5-2 against a rezoning application that would have allowed the Circuit to create a new track and other facilities adjacent to the current operation on Highway 18.

Mayor Al Siebring and Coun. Tek Manhas voted in favour of the new plan with councillors Kate Marsh, Christopher Justice, Rob Douglas, Rosalie Sawrie and Debra Toporowski opposed.

The end of the line for the expansion attempt came at 2:30 a.m. Friday morning when the public hearing that featured input from more than 140 speakers — some got up to speak more than once — wrapped up and council moved into a council meeting to debate the issue.

The public hearing was a raucous affair at times with the acrimony that has been a part of the process for several months evident as speaker after speaker rose to have their three-minute say. Allegations of dishonesty and personal comments have been a part of the dialogue on social media and some of it carried over to the public hearing that began on Tuesday night and resumed Thursday.

The hearing was held in the Cowichan Performing Arts Centre due to the anticipated huge turnout for the event. On Tuesday night more than 500 people attended. The Thursday hearing attracted fewer people, approximately 400, but many stayed until the end.

After the vote was announced, there was a loud outcry of victory from the no side that had dominated the public input on the second night with cries of joy and celebratory hugs amongst the group.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Chemainus District Chamber of Commerce supports business relationships

Strong tradition within local communities continues

Vancouver firm awarded contract for North Cowichan’s OCP project

Comprehensive review and update being undertaken

Vehicle and welding machines recovered from theft at Geo-Tech Industries

Suspects still not identified from early Tuesday morning break-in at Crofton business

For the love of dogs and cats

Here’s the top 15 from photos you sent in for Valentine’s Day

Blair says RCMP have met Wet’suwet’en conditions, so barricades should come down

The Wet’suwet’en’s hereditary chiefs oppose the Coastal GasLink project

B.C., federal ministers plead for meeting Wet’suwet’en dissidents

Scott Fraser, Carolyn Bennett standing by to return to Smithers

B.C. mom’s complaint about ‘R word’ in children’s ministry email sparks review

In 2020, the ‘R’ word shouldn’t be used, Sue Robins says

New Jamie Bacon trial for counselling to commit murder charge set for March 3

The trial is set to start on March 3 at B.C. Supreme Court

Federal minister pledges to meet Wet’suwet’en chiefs in B.C. over natural gas pipeline

The Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they are visiting Mohawk territory

2010 leader John Furlong urges Vancouver to bid for 2030 Winter Games

VANOC said the 2010 games broke even financially

Pipeline dispute: Tories put no-confidence motion on House of Commons agenda

Conservatives say they have no confidence in the Trudeau government to end the rail blockades

Canadians aboard coronavirus-ridden cruise ship to return home tonight

Among the infected are 47 Canadians who will have to remain in Japan for treatment

Most Read