By Nikki Jamieson
Get your engines started, legal drag racing is coming to the Vauxhall airport.
During their regular April 11 meeting, the Municipal District of Taber council received requested information about a proposed drag race put on by the Street Wheelers Car Club on M.D. property.
Council first discussed the proposed race during their regular Feb. 28 meeting, when they received a letter from the Street Wheelers Car Club. Accompanied by their treasurer, Dean Parker, they requested permission from the M.D. to host a drag race at the Vauxhall airport in September. Council had approved the request, pending they hear back from the airport committee and insurance.
Since then, they have had a chance to receive feedback from the airport committee and users of the airport.
“I can’t say they’re really excited about it,” said Brian Brewin, reeve of the M.D., of the airport users.
The two main concerns the airport users had regarding the event were about potential security issues and damage to the airstrip surface. At the February meeting, Parker told council the club already has the necessary supplies, volunteers and insurance for the event, and will take care of security, toilets and fire services for the site. According to a memo from Brian Peers, the director of lands and leases for the M.D., the club will be hiring two commissionaires to work as security officers for the event, and the approximately 30 members of the club attending will also help with security.
The memo also states that the club has held similar events at the Fort Mcleod airport with minimal surface damage. The club and the M.D. would be responsible for repairs should damage occur due to the racing activities and restore the airstrip surface to its original state.
“This is a group who’s done this at different airports; it’s not their first rodeo,” said Brewin. “I think they understand what they’re getting into. I don’t think they’ll do it if they would ruin it. We may have to take a sweeper out there when it’s done, to get some of the rocks and stuff off.”
“I support these kinds of things, it’s what keeps street riders off the street. They go out there and blow off some steam,” said Dwight Tolton, M.D. councillor, adding that he plans on attending and keeping an eye on things, should the request be approved. “I’ll be as much as a policeman there, to make sure, but I’m sure it will be fine.
“It’s a shot in the arm for Vauxhall, economically… It’s also good advertising for the M.D. How many know we have an airport there?”
As private landowners surround the airport, council discussed offering the use of snow fencing to deter spectators from wandering onto non-airport land and marking off the out-of-bounds areas themselves for the event, although they were unsure what Street Wheelers would do for it.
“If it’s marked off, where to probably stay out of, it might be easier,” said Bob Wallace, M.D. councillor.
“Orange fencing costs us nothing, I think we have enough (to do it). At least you’ll have an area marked to stay out of, it’s easier to monitor for security if they know this and where they’re supposed to go.”
Council passed a motion to approve the September drag race at the Vauxhall airport, and offer the Street Wheelers Car Club snow fencing to mark off the area.
Street Wheelers is a non-profit group of 32 volunteers who love cars and giving back to the community. Founded in Lethbridge, for the past 41 years they have been hosting events around southern Alberta for car enthusiasts so that everyone can have fun safely and legally.
Their major event is the three-day Street Machine Weekend in Lethbridge, and they have also done drag racing days in Medicine Hat and Fort Macleod, and for the past two years, have hosted a ‘heads-up’ styled drag race in Fort Macleod.