Langley Township spent just $4,200 on policing costs for last fall’s Langley Good Times Cruise-In, much less than was estimated by the car show’s previous host community.
From 1997 to 2016, the car show was hosted in Langley City on Fraser Highway.
After a few years of disputes over costs with the City, in 2017 the Cruise-In abruptly relocated to Aldergrove, in Langley Township.
The Township indicated it would be more flexible about policing costs.
In the end, the Township didn’t charge the Cruise-In committee anything for policing.
“That’s absorbed by the Township, same as policing costs for other big events, like the Cranberry Festival,” said Bill Storie, interim head of bylaw enforcement.
The major difference, according to Storie and Cruise-In president Wayne Patterson, is that the Township didn’t consider “Friday night costs” in its calculations.
On Friday nights before previous Cruise-In, there have several times been large gatherings of car buffs on side streets around Langley City, particularly Industrial Avenue between 200th Street and 203rd Street.
Some driver simply cruise around in their cars. But there have also been incidents of burnouts and dangerous driving.
None of the unofficial Friday night events were organized or encouraged by the official car show.
Langley RCMP have typically showed up early in the evening in recent years to preemptively clamp down on any dangerous driving.
Cruise-In organizers argued against the costs, saying they were being treated differently from festivals such as Arts Alive, which also used Fraser Highway in the City’s downtown core.
In 2016, Langley City asked for the Cruise-In to pay $12,000 towards policing, but after public outcry, the City agreed to rescind the condition and the car show went ahead as scheduled.
In 2017, the City offered the Cruise-In a $13,000 grant towards its costs, but organizers still expected they would have to pay $18,000 to $25,000 for policing and other expenses.
The City estimated it cost them about $80,000 to host the annual car show.
Last spring, the City of Langley sent a letter to Cruise-In organizers asking that they pay 25 per cent of policing costs for both the event and any extra officers working on the Friday night before the Sept. 9 car show.
Patterson said the Cruise-In is already planning for next year’s show in Aldergrove, and met with Township officials on Jan. 24.
Not worrying about policing costs is a relief, he said.
“It’s one of those ones we don’t have to put in the back of our mind,” he said.
He noted there were still people who gathered in Langley City and in Surrey near 192nd Street the night before Cruise-In in 2017, but those gatherings weren’t sanctioned by the car show.
The Langley Good Times Cruise-In is a volunteer-run non-profit that donates its revenues each year to local charities.