Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit in Cowichan Valley. Supplied by VIMC Facebook page.
More reaction now, following North Cowichan council rejecting the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit phase two expansion plans for the second time.
One of the representatives from the Sahtlam Neighbourhood Association, Dr. Isabel Rimmer said this decision gives the people who live in the area, including herself and her family, peace of mind.
“It means we do not have to lie awake at night worrying about what a tripling of that race track would do to our lived experience,” said Rimmer.
Cowichan Tribes member Jared Williams was at the public hearing Monday and said the land that phase two would have occupied is of huge cultural importance to local First Nations.
“The track would be located less than one half of one kilometre from a location that we would know as Ts’uqwulu, Ts’uqwulu is the location where, in our creation stories, that our ancestors originally arrived here, at exactly that location,” said Williams.
Rimmer said residents in the area have learned a lot about their own backyard through discussions about the race track.
“We also became increasingly knowledgeable about the potential impacts of that expansion on our watershed, on the First Nations and their attachment to that mountain,” said Rimmer.
She added, “We’re all connected and that has become increasingly important to the people of Sahtlam.”
Williams said the area is used for a variety of purposes.
“We’re using the areas near there, even up until now, for hunting and for medicine harvesting, as well as for spiritual cleansing,” said Williams. “That area is used to allow our people to spiritually heal or cleanse themselves.”
At the first public hearing on October 4, council voted 5-2 against the expansion at the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit, but one of the two opposed to the decision back then, Mayor Al Siebring, flipped and voted against the development of phase two earlier this week.
The VIMC has threatened litigation and potential damages of $60-million dollars.