Noise limit making it hard to return to the races at North Okanagan's Motoplex Speedway | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Noise limit making it hard to return to the races at North Okanagan's Motoplex Speedway

The Motoplex Speedway on Highway 97, just north of Vernon, Friday, Aug. 10, 2018.
August 14, 2018 - 5:00 PM

NORTH OKANAGAN - It was another quiet summer at the Motoplex Speedway in the North Okanagan and there’s no telling how long it will stay that way.

The speedway is under a court order to keep its noise level under 80 decibels following a lengthy legal battle with the developer of a housing subdivision near the track.

“We are still sitting at no events until the decibel law is changed,” speedway general manager Bob Newcombe says.

He says the goal is to resume racing — potentially in 2019 — but that’s not going to be easy.

The sound limit prohibits the track from generating noise above 80 decibels averaged over a five minute period, measured from the perimeter of the land closest to the adult retirement community Lawrence Heights.

The developers of that subdivision sued the owners of the track several years ago over the noise caused by race cars during periodic speedway events. In 2014 and 2015 — the last years with any racing — there were between two and three events a year.

Newcombe says they need to get some clarification around the decibel limit, including where it’s measured from.

“If the court wants it measured right at the track wall, well I disagree with that. There are highway trucks going by the place at more than 85 decibels,” Newcombe says.

He suggests measuring it from the housing community itself, something he says was done during the lead up to the trial a few years ago. Their expert determined the sound was around 56 decibels, if measured from the residential area across Highway 97.

Newcombe says their next step is to determine whether the order can be amended, something that would likely require returning to court.

“It would be a shame to lose it (speedway), I have to tell you,” Newcombe says.

Along with the decibel limit imposed in 2016, the track was also ordered to pay more than $100,000 in damages (the developers were suing for $6.3 million). Lawrence Heights tried to appeal last year for a bigger payment, but were turned down by the B.C. Court of Appeal who found there was no basis to overturn the decision.


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