North Cowichan’s decision to deny expansion of motorsport circuit upheld by appeal court

North Cowichan's decision to deny expansion of motorsport circuit upheld by appeal court

The B.C. Supreme Court of Appeal has upheld a decision by North Cowichan council to deny a development permit to the Vancouver Island Motorsport Circuit, which had hoped to expand its existing racetrack.

The ruling, announced Wednesday, overturns a previous ruling from the B.C. Supreme Court made last year ordering the municipality to reconsider its decision on VIMC’s bid to expand its circuit.

VIMC, constructed in 2016, planned on building a new five-kilometre paved track next to its current facility near Duncan, but the plan required the approval of a development permit and rezoning application to the municipality.

North Cowichan then held lengthy public hearings where many residents expressed concerns over noise. The company’s application for expansion was voted down by councillors on two separate occasions.

Owners eventually filed a request for judicial review with the B.C. Supreme Court, arguing the application was unfairly rejected because the municipality had previously approved the exact same use on land where the existing track sits. They also argued the municipality never provided them with a reason for rejection.

The court ruled in favour of VIMC on Nov. 6, 2020, ordering council to review its decision and ultimately giving the expanded racetrack proposal new life.

However that changed Wednesday, when the B.C. Supreme Court of Appeal upheld the municipality’s original decision to deny the permit.


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