This has not been the year the Northern Off Road 4×4 Society and the Northern Alberta Stock Car Club had hoped for. The organizations, which are partners in the development on the racetrack at the bottom of Supertest Hill, were forced to close the facility last spring due to permit problems. While the groups have been busy trying to navigate the confusing world of permits for over a year, this past weekend they were dealt another devastating blow as severe vandalism was discovered at the facility.
“Right now we have been doing a little bit of work out at the race track whenever we can. Last time we went out there we realized a lot of the vehicles we have stored out there which either belong to our members or to the society itself, had been severely damaged,” explained Shane Ganong, president of the Northern Off Road 4×4 Society.
“It appeared that someone went out there and smashed a lot of the windows out of the vehicles we were trying to save and tipped over port-a-potties and just made a general mess of the area. We will have to put repairs on hold until we have the resources to fix them and just deal with the broken windows for now, that’s all we can do.”
Ganong believes their inability to host events, renovate the facility and therefore a general lack of people in the track contributed to the act of vandalism. “We were doing good. There was a lot of vandalism when we took over the place, but we noticed that it stopped when there was a lot of activity out there during our first year of operation, we didn’t have any. However, it’s been quiet now for the last year while we have been dealing with all the permits, we are finding vandalism starting to pick up again.”
“We are trying to get our development all set but it’s been the most confusing and frustrating process we have ever gone through,” he added.
“We just want to run. The facility has been there since the early 70’s. The first year we ran events and it was very successful. We had insurance, we had everything covered, paramedics, everything.”
Ganong says their issues began when he sought advice from the Regional Municipality of Wood Buffalo (RMWB) on the development of another plot of land the organization owns on Tower Road. “I was confused because I had never done anything like this before.” He said that while he recognized that they new piece of land would require permits to develop, he was not aware the racetrack would since the facility already existed.
Ganong said they want to get the racetrack operational as soon as possible and create a new option for family entertainment. “I’m really hoping things can turn around and we can open next and have a steady stream of events and a bunch of people out there. There’s so much work to be done, we could have been out there all summer, but unfortunately we aren’t allowed to do much besides general cleaning until we get the development permit done.”
“We want to bring racing back here because racing was big back in the day. We plan on having some tough truck challenges, we want to have some oval racing, we want to have UTV racing again. We want to focus on local talent right now and the following year we plan on bringing up sanctioned events for stock cars, sprints, the outlaws. We plan on bringing up monster truck shows and we already have interested promoters that want to come up as well as tractor pull. For kids we always have face painting, tractor rides, and bouncy castles. We are trying to keep it a nice family event facility,” he explained.
However, he noted that the way things are going currently he is very doubtful that they will be able to run next year.
Ganong is asking the citizens of Wood Buffalo to contact the RCMP if they have any information on the vandalism and for those passing by the track to report any suspicious activity.
For more information on the racetrack development or those interested in becoming involved in the Northern Off Road 4×4 Society can email Ganong at email@example.com or like the group on Facebook.