Motocross track in crosshairs

The owner of a controversial home-made motocross track near Summerland may be heading to court.

Staff at the Regional District of Okanagan Similkameen are recommending the board approve legal action against the property owner of 833 Fish Lake Road.  The board will vote on whether to apply for an injunction against the track at its next meeting on Thursday.

In 2016, Rick Leitner bought the 7.6-hectare Fish Lake Rd. property and built a motocross track for his son Brock, a professional motocross racer, to train on.

According to 2016 media reports, when the track was built, neighbours of the Leitners weren’t happy about it and sent a petition to the Agricultural Land Commission in opposition, saying the track's noise was impacting their lives and livestock. They also pointed out the track is built on agricultural land reserve land.

At the time, Leitner told media he didn’t know he needed permission to build a track because it’s only being used by his son and wasn’t open to the public.

At the time, regional district staff began to receive email, phone and written complaints, said RDOS Chief Administrative Officer Bill Newell in the report to the board.

“Of concern at the time was that the property did not comprise a residential dwelling and therefore the motocross track could not be considered an accessory residential use,” said the report.

In September 2016, the RDOS told the property owner to discontinue use of the track. Around that time, a mobile home was placed on the property and with a permit issued for the home that has since expired, said the report.

The track has continued to be used and neighbours have continued complaining.

In 2017, fines of $500 were issued. Leitner disputed the fines.

In April 2018, an adjudicator ruled that the RDOS “didn’t present sufficient evidence to confirm that the equipment being operated in 2017 couldn’t be used for agricultural purposes.” The fines were struck down.

But now that spring has arrived, the complaints about the track are ramping up again, says the report.

“The use of the property for a motocross track is not seen to be consistent with the OCP designation and zoning of the property to ensure its use for agricultural purposes,” the report reads. As well, RDOS administration said the track’s continued use is creating an adverse impact on the Meadow Valley community based on the continued submission of formal complaints to the Regional District.

Castanet was unsuccessful in reaching the Leitners for comment.

By Monique Tamminga

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