After nearly 20 years of taking over the downtown Langley City core, the Langley Good Times Cruise-In may be moving to Aldergrove.
The board of directors is currently consulting with the Township to see if the move would be possible. If not, “we’ve got to close the Cruise-In,” Society president, Wayne Patterson, said.
The reason for moving has to do with a list of 22 requirements the City sent to the Cruise-In directors in November 2016. These include applying for community grants on time, requiring the Cruise-In to pay a $5,000 security deposit as well as cover 25 per cent of policing costs both during the event on Saturday, and the Friday night before.
The same debate over policing costs almost caused the Cruise-In to be cancelled last year.
“We’ve got to look at alternative things to do, because I can’t give away 25 per cent of the money we raise for policing costs,” Patterson said.
“We’ve had great success with the City and having it in the City. Sorry it had to come to that, (but) that’s what happened.”
Should the Cruise-In move be successful, Patterson says they plan to shut down a portion of Fraser Highway in Aldergrove’s downtown core, along with some of the side streets.
“We were looking at multiple different areas. We looked at Fort Langley, but it’s just too small, too hard to get people in and out of there for parking. We looked up in Walnut Grove, but it’s pretty hard to shut down part of Walnut Grove, because there’s lots of streets around it, and there’s not lots of parking… Then we also looked at the Langley Airport, but we don’t want a closed-in environment, we want an open environment where it feels like the downtown core, it’s open to the public, you don’t have to walk through gates. Because that’s basically what kills car shows — closed off areas, people can’t roam around.”
CITY ‘SURPRISED’ BY MOVE
According to a press release sent out on Friday (March 24), the City was “surprised” to learn that the Cruise-In Society is looking to move the event.
Mayor Ted Schaffer met with Patterson at the end of February, and says Patterson gave no indication that they were considering changing the location.
“The City is disappointed that the Society has decided to move the Cruise-In event to Aldergrove as we have gone beyond the call of duty to provide financial and in-kind support to the Society every year for the past 20 years,” Schaffer said in the release.
“While we would like to see the Cruise-In event remain in the City, we recognize that the Society has made a business decision to relocate their event, and we wish them much success.”
The list of requirements sent to the Society was based off an analysis the City completed after last year’s event. These requirements are standard for any similar event in the City, and are meant to “ensure public safety and prevent potential liability for the event host and the City,” the release stated.
The City estimates it spends more than $55,000 for policing the unofficial Friday night activities each year, and last year, it had to spend an additional $15,000 due to the loss of auxiliary officers.
The release notes that the City of Surrey, by comparison, charges the actual costs incurred by the RCMP to support their events.
The City also provided a community grant of $12,175 to the Society for the 2016 show, but ended up spending $17,192 to hire professional traffic controllers due to a lack of volunteers.
CRUISE-IN MOVE ‘A BIG LOSS’ — DLBA
The Downtown Langley Business Association also conducted a survey on the Cruise-In, and received mixed responses from its members, the press release said.
“Many of the responses did cite that the event does have a negative impact on their businesses with respect to parking, access, sales, customer disruption and frustration, and storefront closures for the day,” the release stated.
“However, they recognize that the Langley Good Time Cruise-In is a good event for the community…”
Executive Director Teri James told the Times that she believes the event moving to Aldergrove “would be a big loss.”
“Over the years, the businesses have embraced the Cruise-In and welcomed the 50,000 plus people that come into the downtown. It’s not a huge sales day, from a retail perspective, but certainly the restaurants benefit from that day,” she said.
“The only thing I think I would like to say to Aldergrove (is) embrace them, because it’s an awesome event.”
‘GREAT’ OPPORTUNITY FOR TOWNSHIP
Township Mayor Jack Froese said the move could be a good opportunity for Aldergrove.
“We certainly have to reach out to the community to see what they think, but having a major event in Aldergrove that they can hang their hat on, I think would be great,” Froese said.
“Fort Langley has the Cranberry Festival, and look at how many people show up and the exposure it gets … so having another event (in addition to Aldergrove Fair Days) certainly won’t hurt the merchants and the restaurants in Aldergrove.”
Froese said the Township is in the beginning stages of consulting, and that the Cruise-In directors will need to submit a highway use permit before any decisions can be made. Aldergrove residents and businesses will have to be consulted as well, to make sure the event will be welcomed in the area.
And should everything be approved, this would not be a permanent move. It would be a pilot event to make sure the Cruise-In is a good fit for Aldergrove.
“We look at it like any other major event that the Township hosts, in that if they want to apply, there’s a process to follow and they’ll be doing that,” Froese said.
“It’s early stages.”
Because the Township is still waiting on the highway use permit to be submitted, Froese is not sure how policing costs will be distributed. But he doubts that the Cruise-In Society would be on the hook for any activity occurring outside of their Saturday event.
“As part of the process we’ll be working with the RCMP and fire (department) to see what the impacts are and what the additional costs would be,” he said.
“I don’t see how we would, or how we could (charge policing for the Friday night) because we have a lot of large events that come to the Township of Langley where people come in the day before, and we don’t expect the proponent or the organization to pay for policing that doesn’t happen on their day.
“That’s not the philosophy of the Township.”
The Cruise-In directors anticipate finding out if the move to Aldergrove is feasible in the next 30 days.