A crisis that could have cancelled the Langley Good Times Cruise-In has been averted, with the City agreeing to pay a hefty bill for policing.
“They have decided that they’re going to pay for the policing this year,” said Wayne Patterson, president of the Cruise-In.
The $12,000 bill for policing costs came to Patterson’s attention Tuesday.
He warned it could have scuttled the long-running event.
When Patterson went public, the news blew up on social media.
On Wednesday morning, Patterson talked with Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer and was told the costs will be covered for 2016.
Langley City Mayor Ted Schaffer said changes to the RCMP’s federal policy on the use of volunteer auxiliaries is what has led to the extra costs. The Langley detachment will have to use regular paid officers instead.
“The RCMP are working in some very difficult situations,” Schaffer said.
On some Fridays before the Cruise-In, there have been impromptu gatherings in the City of hot rodders who speed down roads or do “burn outs.”
“That could have turned very nasty if the RCMP didn’t step in,” said Schaffer.
He said the costs for policing on Friday – before the Cruise-In – is justified because people are coming into town for the following day’s event.
Arts Alive, an event that also attracts thousands of people and closes down part of Fraser Highway, does not pay extra policing costs.
“It’s a different clientele,” said Schaffer.
The mayor also said that the issue of costs was raised as far back as Aug. 2, when City staff, Cruise-In representatives, and RCMP met to talk about the issue.
Patterson still objects to the idea that the Cruise-In should pay for RCMP costs.
“The board does not ask for RCMP to be at the event, it should be like every other day in the City,” he wrote in his letter to the City. “If police are needed, we call 9-1-1 for an emergency and the police show up, and the taxpayers do not get an invoice for this.”
He also suggested that the Cruise-In could move to the Township if the issue is not resolved.
The society will talk with the City over the coming year on these talks.
“We’re going to hold our ground,” said Patterson.
The Cruise-In is an all-volunteer run event that raises funds for local charities.
“This is basically taking money out of a charity’s pocket,” said Patterson.
Last year alone – thanks to community spirit, major sponsorship, and countless volunteer hours and effort – the Cruise-In raised $83,000 for local charities.