In response to the letter to the editor in the May 19 edition of The Pipestone Flyer titled “Off-road track demand is high…”
The County of Wetaskiwin has a clear set of by-laws in place to prevent people from disturbing and disrupting whole communities and adjacent landowners. There are parameters in which to work in.
The land surrounding the 80 acres that has the unpermitted track is good agricultural land. The three sides of the property have been sustainable pasture for decades and the fourth side is cropland that has had successful yields for 20 plus years. It is more than “sketchy pasture at best” according to agricultural assessors and the families that have farmed in the community for generations.
There is a huge difference between a track for a family’s personal use and a public business. The noise of one machine might be “96 dB which is comparable to a lawnmower” but times that by six or 10 or more machines and I assure you that it is a concern to the three households that live less than a kilometer from the track.
The cattle and noise disturbance are only a fraction of the issues that surround the continuing growth of the unpermitted motocross track. As a public business it affects road maintenance from both the County of Wetaskiwin and the County of Camrose, dust control for the residences along the road to the track, maintenance and repair of the one-lane bridge, additional emergency services such as police, fire and ambulance, the wildlife in the Battle River corridor, the wildlife at the nearby Buck for Wildlife and of course the monetary value and enjoyment value of the properties that are adjacent to the race track etc.
I find it frustrating the writer would blame the county for unruly riders “that have nowhere else to go,” and so ride illegally on private property or county land. The blame for that is solely on the individual rider that makes that choice. Making a purchase of a recreational vehicle does not give you a license to ride anywhere you choose. Also, there are places to ride in nearby communities for enthusiasts.
The owners of the track had neglected to work with the county and the community prior to adding on to the unpermitted track and running it as an unpermitted business in the summer of 2015.
The demand for a motocross track might be a valid point but the onus is not on the county to ignore by-laws in order to allow the track; the onus is on the track owners to find a suitable location, have a business plan that would follow by-laws, business regulations and insurance regulations of running a motocross track.
As with any venture, there is a logical, legal and proper way to establish a business.
Note: I live in this particular community and my dad, Tully Johnson, lives on land adjacent to the race track property.