The size of an unofficial show and shine consisting of classic car owners who gather to visit and show off their vehicles has been increasing at Langley Mall since mid-June.
The show has popped up in different incarnations over the years, most recently 2800 block of 192nd Street at the Surrey/Langley border.
RCMP set up blockades in early June to put a stop to the car show, citing a lack of social distancing measures and past irresponsible and illegal driving behaviours as reasons the event could not continue in the strip mall parking lot.
Now, the “Langley Mall Car Meet” have been pulling up to the parking lot of the now-empty Army and Navy at 5501 204 Street, which permanently closed it’s doors last May.
Resident Mike Parker voiced his concerns, noting that this car show is not an organized, event but rather a collection of individuals who feel the need to show off their cars.
“My concerns are numerous,” Parker said. “The volume of traffic increases, the noise they generate, public urination, alcohol being consumed, the safety concerns for children and people with mobility disabilities, the drag racing, cars peeling out of the parking lot, customers trying to access Tim Hortons and No Frills, and no social distancing.”
Group member Craig Moffett said he recently started joining in and helping members connect through social media.
“I’ve talked to a lot of people and they’re just a bunch of good guys – many of them mechanics – who are a bunch of car enthusiasts,” Moffett said. “I didn’t notice too many people wearing masks, but I felt people were being respectful and keeping their distance.”
As for burnouts, stunting, and other dangerous driving that often gets associated with car shows, Moffett said there is no use for that kind of behavior.
“I for one have never done a burnout and it ruins chances of keeping the location,” he assured. “There’s always going to be that one idiot that ruins it for someone else, but it’s something we don’t promote. We’re not trying to be rebels.”
With large scale car shows such as the Langley Good Times Cruise-In announcing their cancellation for 2020, some are wondering why other events are going ahead or even being allowed to continue.
Cruise-In director Riccardo Sesito told the Langley Advance Times that this type of gathering has been going for many, many years all over the place.
“Most of the time it is self-policed and respected by the classic car owners themselves,” Sesito said. “Only a few will ruin it for the others. I think its great everyone is still getting together to talk shop with each other, hopefully this will last at this location for at least the end of summer.”
Parker feels more needs to be done to control the noise and order to protect residents who live nearby.
“When these people leave it not quiet, they all have to peel out and it upset the neighbours,” Parker added. “They don’t actually leave, they just drive around the block and come back.”
So far, there has been no significant police presence or tickets issued at the Langley Mall Car Meet.
“There’s no alcohol and they don’t want any trouble,” Moffett assured. “It’s like having the Cruise-In every Friday night. What’s better than that?”
“The people who live in the surrounding Condos are being held hostage by these so-called car enthusiasts and I am sure many of the residents don’t want them here,” Parker said. “It’s like living at Mission Speedway.”
The meet-up begins at roughly 5 p.m. and lasts until 10 p.m., which the public is free to attend.
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