Efforts to have Castrol Raceway re-open during this COVID period are ongoing but remain challenging….

Following some recent hopeful signs for resumption of racing at Edmonton’s Castrol Raceway — there has been a set back.

However track owners Rob and Kimberley Reeves continue to “fight the good fight” — to benefit both racers and fans within the ever migrating COVID restrictions and perceptions within the province of Alberta.

After some initial optimism that the track would be able to ease into operations — those plans had to be shelved.

“Well, it’s been a bit of an uphill battle with AHS,” said Kimberley Reeves.  “Going back as far as April 27 — we reached out to AHS  7X times with only one reply.    On April 28 there was a statement issued — no exemption on gathering restrictions — but then the next day Premier Kenney made the announcement for Alberta’s Phase 1 ReLaunch — which seemed to provide us a fit.”

“Following May 8 we started to reach out to our MLA and Local Government —  several emails and phone conversations  provided us with positive feedback for our plans that included compliance parameters for Outdoor Recreation.  But then on May 14 our Health Minister redefined Phase 1 re-launch plan — with RACING ENTERTAINMENT CENTERS being prohibited from opening.”

“We take issue with the part we would be considered under the ‘Racing Center’ ordinance,” Kim continued.  “All historical reference Under Alberta Legislation “Racing Entertainment” is very specific to Horse Racing — see AGLC (over 200 pages of detailed “RACING ENTERTAINMENT” operating guidelines).”

“So we did open the track on Friday evening (May 15) and then again the Saturday morning — with great success.  But then we got a call at approximately 2 PM on Saturday from a local AHS Health Inspector who stated we had to shut down — as we were in fact “RACING” Entertainment Center.”

Since then, and including their Lawyer, Kim and Rob have been diligently working within a unified approach for all Alberta Motorsport facilities (draft shared document / event guideline templates) to help generate a better understanding for the industry legislation specification — MOTORSPORT RECREATION.   

“We got some HUGE help from our friends in Ontario (Paul Spriet @ Grand Bend Motorplex),” Kim added. “Our Alberta Motorsport Operating Guidelines are basically a cut/paste of what was presented in Ontario and which received approval for operating guidelines — so there is room for optimism here.”

The gist of that template does include a very discipled approach — ie: (motorsport requires the ‘participant’ to compete independently with a vehicle; there is no allowance for physical contact among participants, crew, or operational staff during any program. The very nature of motorsport demands uninterrupted space for each participant, both on and off the track.)

It seems apparent that some unfamiliarity of the Alberta Government with regards to distinguishing Motorsports Recreation and as well as that being any kind of a priority for them, is a rather blatant problem too.   (Editors Note:  That notion is atypical within other provinces within Canada too – with drag strip/motorsports operators facing very similar barriers).

But as of today — in Alberta — the process continues.   

“We’re not giving up — as an industry we deserve clarity and understanding,” she added. “Yesterday we have re-issued an appeal for compliance exemption to our local AHS Representatives, MLA’s and Government Officials.”

Posted by Bruce Biegler