International raceway improves safety, green efforts

Under direction from County of Wetaskiwin staff, and as part of a strategy to make the Edmonton International Raceway...

Under direction from County of Wetaskiwin staff, and as part of a strategy to make the Edmonton International Raceway (EIR) in Wetaskiwin more inviting, the track is undergoing many safety improvement projects, as well as eco-green initiatives.

Promoter Loretta Thiering told county council during her May 12 presentation some of the safety code updates being incorporated at the raceway include new metal spindles on bleachers, a compliant Sea-Can suit tower, electrical permits, holding tanks for concession wastewater and fireproof drywall installed in rooms under the bleachers.

Thiering says a project to construct a sound barrier behind the bleachers on turn four is also in the works. “That will definitely reduce the noise going up into Peace Hills.”

The raceway is working on becoming more economically and environmentally friendly, Thiering informed council.

Because of Alberta’s economic downturn the raceway has been charging $5 entry fees rather than the usual $15. “If that works out really well we’ll continue charging $5,” said Thiering.

The raceway’s Alberta Has Energy 300 has also been faced with challenges due to the crash of the oil and gas industry. Thiering says her plans may have to wait until next year to really get going but she is re-branding the race Alberta Has New Energy 300.

“We work very closely with NASCAR. They have a new NASCAR green program, which is things like composting our waste at the racetrack. We partnered with Progressive Waste (Solutions) and they’ve given us some bins,” said Thiering.

She explained to council solar power was considered as an option but it not financially feasible at this time.

Willows are being planted on-site and Thiering says a dugout will help them combat any drought conditions.

“So those are some of the things we’re doing to try and lessen our footprint on the environment. You know everybody knows race cars, race tracks are probably not considered the most environmentally friendly,” said Thiering.

“At EIR we truly believe we’re a community organization,” she added.

During her presentation Thiering made a funding request for $4,900.

Coun. Lyle Seely felt he could not support council giving the money to the raceway, partially due to the tight budget. “It’s great to see all the improvements It’s not something we normally contribute to,” he added.

“I think $4,900 can come out of reserves,” said Coun. Larry McKeever.

Council denied the request and accepted it as information; McKeever was opposed.