Cape Breton Post
Cape Breton drag racing site blames ATV drivers for vandalism
SYDNEY — Another incident of vandalism is forcing property owners to review their land-use agreements with allterrain vehicle clubs.
“They smashed some windows out of our bus,” said Gary Pozzebon, president of the Cape Breton Drag Racing Association, adding there are a lot of ATV tracks around the drag race site.
Pozzebon said they discovered the damage when going out to the property off of Grand Lake Road on June 3.
As well, between April 24 and 25, culprits stole a 24-inch culvert that was on the site.
“We’ve been having vandalism since we moved in there,” he said. “We’re disheartened by what’s going on.”
Pozzebon said they have a land-use agreement in place with local ATV clubs. The association allowed the clubs to extend a trail on the side of the drag race property so ATV riders can travel from Lingan to Grand Lake Road.
However, he said, there are ATV tracks in areas of the property where these vehicles are not permitted, including at the drag strip and the tower.
After seeing the damage, he met with members of the Isle Royale and Marconi Trail Blazers ATV clubs.
“The land-use agreement is up for discussion,” he said.
It’s not the only agreement under review.
Sometime between 10 p.m. on June 4 and the early morning hours of June 6, culprits caused thousands of dollars in damage to J.A. Douglas McCurdy Sydney Airport’s pumphouse located on an allterrain vehicle trail off Old Airport Road.
In a recent story in the Cape Breton Post, airport authority CEO Mike MacKinnon said he will be reviewing its land-use agreement with the local clubs.
YEARS OF VANDALISM
Pozzebon said the Cape Breton Drag Racing Association is a non-profit organization that has worked hard over the past 20 years to promote the sport on the island. Everything is done by volunteers.
Drag racing was held at the Sydney airport for several years. In June 2016, the association began leasing the former Devco wash plant land from the federal government and purchased it two years later.
The association moved the racing tower they had at the Sydney airport to the new location. In July 2016, vandals burned it down.
The association acquired a former Transit Cape Breton bus at that time until they rebuilt the tower to allow for the collection of fees. The bus was used last year as an information centre for race car drivers.
In 2018, thieves broke into the storage container that was on site — cut the locks off it — and stole a generator, jacks, wheel dollies, extension cords and a laptop computer.
The association is hoping to start back up again during the July 30, 31 and Aug. 1 weekend.
“Hopefully, restrictions will be lifted enough that we can by that time,” he added.
MARCONI TRAIL BLAZERS
Meanwhile, Allister MacLean, president of the Marconi Trail Blazers, said following news of the damage, members of his group went out to the drag racing track, along with members of the Isle Royale ATV Club, to meet with members of the drag racing association.
MacLean said the news of the vandalism was devastating to all of them. He said these are criminals and he hopes they are caught.
“To me it’s like it happened in my own backyard,” he said. “They are all volunteers out there at the racetrack. They don’t need that kind of damage.”
The club also met with the Sydney Airport Authority because of the vandalism to the Sydney airport’s pumphouse.
MacLean said the ATV clubs built a trail across from the airport land. There were stipulations from the airport to stay on the trail, not to
drive through fields or cause damage with the vehicles.
He said volunteers worked hard on these trails and ATVs
are enjoyed by many families, and a lot more women are involved now than ever.
Knowing use of the land at the Cape Breton Drag Racing Association site and the Sydney airport could be at risk, he said it is a worry. A lot of money and sweat equity by volunteers goes into the trails.
MacLean said it’s hoped they are not shut down, adding their club might look at doing some education and even setting up cameras.
Deer hunters have offered their cameras and MacLean said he received a call Friday from Aucoin’s Security.
“The fellow introduced himself and said, ‘How can I help you?’” he said. “I thought that was really good of him.”
Meanwhile, vandals on ATVs have been relentless with damage and theft at the confined disposal facility that the Port of Sydney oversees in Point Edward.
Culprits have been breaching the restricted area by cutting the lock and in the past two months alone, there were 21 signs stolen from the property.