A car club boycott of a proposed new Langley City car show has forced its cancellation, said Randy Caine, the Langley businessman trying to organize the event.
“It became too much of a question mark,” Caine told the Times.
Caine was proposing a smaller “family-friendly” event held during the BC Day long weekend, a month ahead of Cruise-In, which relocated to Aldergrove in Langley Township following a dispute over policing costs with Langley City.
He said the City seemed open to the idea and local merchants appeared to be supportive, with a poll of 20 businesses that found “only one” against the idea.
Caine said the event would have been called “Langley Days,” a nod to the Langley Days society that ended in 1986.
Caine said following reports Cruise-In was asking car clubs to boycott the new show, one organizer pulled out from Langley Days and car clubs started saying they weren’t interested.
Caine said that “cast a pall” over the proposed event.
“They (Cruise-In) want to continue to dominate,” Caine said.
“I do think it’s bullying.”
Caine said said Langley Days was an attempt to fill the gap created by the relocation of the Cruise-In charitable fundraiser from the City to the Township.
“I always felt that we as citizens were kind of left in the lurch,” Caine said.
“It (the proposed event) wasn’t intended ever to replace or replicate the event that was leaving.”
Caine said he may try again next year.
“Instead of having a wake, maybe wait a year and have a celebration.”
Cruise-In director and former president Riccardo Sestito said Cruise-In did not call for a boycott of Langley Days.
“The Cruise-In is not going to stomp on any show,” Sestito told The Times.
“We’re not like that.”
Sestito said reports to the contrary were the result of “confusion”over the sequence of events that took place after Caine sent letters to car clubs about the new event.
Sestito said many contacted Cruise-In about it to ask if they were involved, and when they learned they weren’t, the clubs said they would boycott the show.
He said if Caine was having problems getting car clubs attending, it’s because the clubs didn’t want to, not because Cruise-In pressured them to stay away.
The Cruise-In directors said they decided to hold the event in Aldergrove because of a list of 22 requirements the City sent them 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 City estimated 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 because of a change in policy by the RCMP that restricted the use of volunteers officers.
The City of Surrey, by comparison, charges the actual costs incurred by the RCMP at such events.
A recent survey of businesses by the Downtown Langley Business Association on the Cruise-In event produced mixed reviews, with many saying the event had a negative impact with respect to parking, access, sales, customer disruption and frustration, and storefront closures.