Editorial — Time to use Campell Valley oval more often

The oval needs to be used much more, but it probably doesn't make sense to bring back car racing.

Metro Vancouver politicians will be once again discussing the former Langley Speedway property within Campbell Valley Regional Park at the parks committee meeting Thursday.

The quarter-mile car race track has been closed for almost 30 years, which is actually longer than it was open. It operated from 1964 to 1984.

While it was an important local landmark and many people enjoyed using the track or going to races as spectators, there aren’t too many good reasons to reopen it for limited car racing. Campbell Valley is a natural area and wildlife refuge, which has been preserved as an area for walking, horse riding, picnics and nature activities.

However, it would be nice to see the natural oval that the speedway used put to much better use, and not just an idle curiosity that walkers stumble into. It would be a great location for more car shows, as Langley Speedway Historical Society has organized on occasion.

It would also be an idyllic setting for some outdoor concerts and other similar activities, if such events were small enough so that there would be enough parking available. Alternatively, organizers could arrange parking at another area nearby and have shuttle buses take people to the speedway property, just off 208 Street.

Metro Vancouver parks committee has been looking at ways to better utilize the oval and possibly gain some rental revenue. This is appropriate, as parks are for everyone, not simply equestrians or dog walkers. In addition, the regional body has limited funds available for park improvements and rental revenue would be most welcome.

Campbell Valley is a jewel of a park, with some excellent scenery, abundant wildlife, historic landmarks and many miles of trails.

It is popular with many people both in and outside Langley, and it deserves to be more fully utilized.

While the history of Langley Speedway is important and efforts by the historical society to keep its memory alive should be encouraged, a car race track within the park doesn’t fit in very well with the other current uses of the park. Nor is there the parking infrastructure to allow for large events within the park.

However, the park does need to be opened up to many more groups, including car enthusiasts. The oval needs to be utilized more fully and more rental revenue would be a good thing.