Tuesday night’s Greenwood council decision to level the demolition derby site to an empty lot came as a surprise.
There had been talk for well over a year now about pulling together a meeting between council and demo derby organizers to discuss some issues.
Before the 2012 derby council had received complaints about the unsightliness of the lots, which are surrounded on three sides by residences.
Conversation at that time led to a cleanup and fix up at the site prior to the 2012 derby. There was also talk at the council table back then about finding a different location for the annual event. Somewhere that would allow the derby grounds infrastructure to remain in place year-round without having it interfere with the neighbor’s scenic view of the hill across the stream.
The site’s large skidder tires and earth embankments form an arena that is surrounded by a number of poles from which hang netting to prevent debris from flying out and injuring any of the spectators.
As one councillor said on Tuesday night, it was a bit hypocritical for council to send letters out to residents asking them to clean up their unsightly premises when the city-owned derby site was used only one or two days a year and then left to lower surrounding property values for the rest of the time.
Council members had asked many times over the past year for staff to arrange a meeting. It’s not clear how effective the lines of communication were over the past 18 months between city hall and the demo derby organizing committee, but it is certain that the committee has been taken by surprise by Tuesday’s decision to close the site.
Council insisted they do not want to see the derby shut down – just moved. That move part seems abundantly clear.