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Summerside Wind Farm will be the site of fun when the cars show up

Daniel Albert, left, and Gordie Whitlock with a skid steer are at the soon to be RC car park opening in Summerside on June 10. The park is located at the Summerside Wind Farm.
Daniel Albert, left, and Gordie Whitlock with a skid steer are at the soon to be RC car park opening in Summerside on June 10. The park is located at the Summerside Wind Farm.

SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. - Gordie Whitlock stands at the Summerside Wind Farm and watches as Daniel Albert piles dirt to form a small jump.  

"It's going to look awesome when it's all finished in a few weeks," said Whitlock, a Summerside city councillor and manager of Generation XX.

"It may not look like much, but when it's finished it will be a nice track for radio-control (RC) cars," Albert, who works for MacIssac Backhoeing Services, added.

When Whitlock campaigned in Ward 3 in the 2014 municipal election, he spoke with four families who were interested in seeing an RC park come to Summerside.

"They had mentioned putting it in the vacant lot on Notre Dame. And the fact that four individual families brought forward the same idea made me want to look into it."

But when Gen XX's first attempt to secure land for the park was denied, the group shelved the idea.

When they decided to give it another shot, they applied for land at the wind farm.

"This used to be the old dump. This land isn't suitable for anything else. There's not much you can put besides windmills and a radio controlled car park," he said.

The park is set to open June 10, however there is no set time yet. There will be no fees to attend the park and there will be set hours of operation.

"Kids go to Gen XX to unplug and unwind. And sometime parents don't get the opportunity or don't unplug. What's important is that this park gives families the opportunity to do something fun together. They can come here and interact. We're hoping the kick off will show that," said Albert.

Whitlock added, "It follows our mandate of the club. Giving kids something to do, keeping them out of trouble, family involvement and so on."

One concern Whitlock and Albert recognize is that dirt bikers and snowmobilers might want to you use the jumps at the park.

"That could be an issue and we might have to fence the area off if that happens," said Whitlock.

"There will be some monitoring involved. Whether that's volunteers or something else... it won't be a free for all."

For now the duo is taking a trial and error approach.

"Each year a track needs to be adjusted and sometimes more frequently. The great thing is this is a dirt track so if something happens it can be fixed easily," said Albert.

He continued, "That being said, there is only so much time you can put into this during work. I'm really hoping it will bring the community together and they can respect the space and work together to make it what it can be."

Pierre Gallant is an RC car enthusiast and a member of the Red Clay RC Racing Club.

"I used them when I was a teenager but stopped for a little while. But I've gotten back into over the last eight years."

In the summer, the club uses a clay track in Charlottetown and an indoor track in Summerside over the winter.

"It can be hard to make it to the track in the summer. The days are busy and the two, hour long drives can be and issue too."

But Gallant is looking forward to a track coming to Summerside.

"Proximity is a huge thing. This gives people the opportunity to come and learn together and bounce off each other."

mmckay@journalpioneer.com

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