Tail Creek Raceway has been given the starting flag to operate for another five years by Lacombe County.
The race track and music venue near Alix was hoping to hold one music festival and six public race events, which also include musical entertainment, this season, depending on what health restrictions are in place.
However, the first race event set for this weekend and the Tail Creek Mudfest music festival planned for the Canada Day weekend have been taken off the schedule. The first event, featuring four-by-four motorsports, is set for June 19-20.
County planners recommended that another five-year permit be approved.
The Jahners, who are the owners, have undertaken a number of changes to address concerns raised in previous years, said county planner Peter Duke. Camping areas are better labelled, the number of processing lanes doubled to 12 for arriving spectators to prevent traffic backing up and a concert bowl was created to reduce noise from musical events.
Lacombe County planning staff said one couple who live near the site have objected to the renewal of the permit, citing noise, garbage, trespassing concerns and the appropriateness of holding events during a pandemic.
Coun. John Ireland said he had spoken with the couple about their concerns and asked the owner what measures were being taken to reduce noise.
Sound meters will be set up at the facility to ensure the noise is kept to 90 to 100 decibels at 30 metres (100 feet) and to 60 decibels at 800 metres away. Music events end at midnight and the only music will come from campers.
If that is too loud, security will tell them to shut it off, said Jahner.
Duke said the concert bowl has reduced the noise and far fewer complaints have been received since.
To keep down dust created from the vehicles there will be dust control on area roads, signage and sentries posted five to seven kilometres west and southeast of the site to warn of approaching trains. Security and first aid people will be on site.
Besides the music festival, the county did not receive any complaints about the raceway, said planners. The Jahners have responded to concerns by hiring staff to clean up garbage after the events and security and temporary fencing to limit trespassing.
Among the conditions the Jahners must meet is limiting race hours to 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and the campground can only be used during races or the music festival.
“Staff are of the opinion that the above measures together with the conditions of the approval will lessen off-site impacts on surrounding residents,” says the planning report.
As well, all necessary Alberta Health Services approvals must be lined up.
“Even though we’ve given approval to do so if Alberta Health says it can’t happen it does not happen,” said Duke.