Opinion: Ill-conceived plan

POSTED: 09/25/12 2:00 PM

The drag racing strip in the Great Salt Pond is the latest bone of contention between environmentalists (supported by hordes of others) and politicians who want to live up to a campaign promise. On their side are, of course, the people who will be doing the drag racing if it ever comes that far. There are a few aspects to consider. First of all there is then retention capacity of the Great Salt Pond. This was already a topic of discussion when former Public Works Commissioner Theo Heyliger dumped all that sand in the pond for the ring road that is competing for longest completion date with the new government administration building. that’s a technical point: if our politicians keep filling the salt pond and turn it into a sand pond, a lot of people are going to end up with wet feet – and worse – when the weather turns against us. Everybody knows this, but based on results, not enough people care. We think they should.

The second aspect concerns the monument status of the salt pond. Politicians do not have to be too concerned about that (not that we want to encourage them, we’re just stating a fact), because they will be able to destruct whatever they want as long as they do not demolish any structures that have monument status. The debating point will of course be whether the walls of the salt pans are structures.

Then there is the matter of the permit for building the darn drag racing strip. Has anybody seen it on public review? We certainly did not and one could well wonder why this is – and whether this is legal.

From a video on Youtube we pick up the opinion that the pond is now filled up as quick as possible to arrive at a point of no return – the moment when there is no use protesting against the project anymore. This makes us wonder what the opponents of the strip are waiting for. The shortest way to freeze those activities is obviously via the courthouse, and via summary proceedings. Organizing an online petition against the strip is always a good idea but it will do nothing to stop what is going on right now.

What will it be like when, in a worst case scenario, the drag racing strip becomes a reality? Will MP Frans Richardson provide the whole population with free ear plugs and with free medical care for damage to our ears? Probably not.

The proponents of the drag racing strip said yesterday in our newspaper that the drag racers will only make “a little noise maybe twice a week for a couple of hours.” The slowest cars will run about 14 seconds and the fastest once about 7 seconds, drag racer Victor Peterson said.

That sounds almost reasonable. But we know from experience in the United States a little bit about the sound levels drag racing produces – and it lasts certainly longer than 14 seconds. We visited once a drag racing place in Utah – even Mormons like speed – and the strip was situated absolutely in the middle of nowhere. For miles and miles around there was not a single building to be seen.

That indicates that the good people of Utah have some common sense as far as noise pollution is concerned. An evening at the drag races is not exactly a feast for the ears.

At the location in the Great Salt Pond, the drag racers will indeed ruin the quality of life for hundreds if not thousands of people. It is telling that, as far as we know, our government in all its wisdom has not thought about an environmental impact study. Makes sense, because such a study would have shown without any doubt that the Great Salt Pond is definitely not a place where one wants to have a drag racing strip.

It is still not too late to reconsider this ill-conceived plan, and to use the money the government is apparently prepared to sink into it for better purposes. Comments on the petition site all point in the same direction: do something about the maintenance of the Raoul Illidge and Melford Hazel sports complexes, do something about the Little League Stadium.

The unanswered questions so far are of course who will benefit from this project – but those answers will come to the surface, sooner or later. Then we will know why there was such an urgency to push all that sand into the Great Salt Pond.


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