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Subdivision developers want car racing stopped at Fort Macleod airport

The developers of Macleod Airfield Properties asked town council Nov. 25 to put the brakes on car racing at the airport.
Barb Vallance and Larry Zehanoviz appeared as a delegation to ask that auto slalom racing be discontinued.
“I would like the town’s commitment to abide by its own by-laws,” Vallance said.
Vallance pointed out that auto racing is not a permitted or discretionary use under the Town of Fort Macleod’s land use by-law for the airport.
Vallance said if council wants to allow racing it should present a by-law amendment at a public hearing.
“Then it would be the proper time to debate the issue,” Vallance said.
Town of Fort Macleod municipal manager David Connauton argued the municipality is allowed by the Municipal Government Act to hold special events such as car racing on its property.
Fort Macleod’s previous council in 2010 allowed the Southern Alberta Solosport Club to use the airport for events in September and October.
The following year council approved use of the airport for 16 events from April to October.
Council in 2012 voted to let the Southern Alberta Solosport Club and the Lethbridge Sport Car Club rent the airport for a total of 16 events.
The Town of Fort Macleod charges the car clubs $450 a day, with the money going to the airport maintenance account.
In 2013 in response to complaints from Vallance and some residents of Macleod Airfield Properties council reduced the number of car racing events to six from April to October.
In auto slalom cars race individually down a track and are timed for performance. A slalom-like course is laid out on the airport runway that the driver has to negotiate while trying to achieve the best time.
Vallance told the new council Nov. 25 that auto racing is not conducive with the country residential lifestyle of people in Macleod Airfield Properties.
Vallance also said closing the airport to planes to allow car racing makes it difficult to market the subdivision to people who own airplanes.
Development of Macleod Airfield Properties started in 1997, Vallance told council.
In 2006 the idea of allowing plane owners to taxi from the runway to their homes where hangars for their planes would be located began to take shape.
Vallance told council there are 12 houses built in Macleod Airfield Properties at present, with three other lots sold and one house being built.
Vallance estimated residential development at present at $4-million.
Vallance said residents of the subdivision, all of whom pay property taxes to the Town of Fort Macleod, deserve more consideration from council.
“I’m not against car racing,” Vallance stressed. “I am against car racing right against residential development.”
Vallance, who is a lawyer, told council she would welcome the chance to argue at a public hearing Connauton’s position that auto slalom racing can be allowed.
“Whether or not the town can do it, doesn’t mean they should do it,” Vallance said. “It’s not something that would normally be permitted in a residential area.”
Council did not make a decision on the matter at the Nov. 25 meeting.

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