Regarding news story in which the Langley Good Times Cruise-In 2016 would be cancelled if the City of Langley didn’t revoke a $12,000 bill [City bills Cruise-In, Aug. 24, Langley Advance].
This is not the first time that the City has demanded money for policing, and the Cruise-In has never broken down and paid the demands.
If you remember back to 2010, there was no Cruise-In.
It was cancelled partly for this very reason – the City was looking for Cruise-In to pay the bill for policing.
That demand came just after the 2009 show for which the City wanted re-compensation for policing costs incurred, because the RCMP decided they would have a heavy police presence.
Somehow the City managed to find a different way to pay the bill and Cruise-In was back for 2011.
Now, I understand that the City cannot just open its chequebook for any event that wants to be held.
I also understand that policing is somewhat necessary, but to saddle the show with that heavy a bill is unreasonable.
This becomes a 14.2 per cent tax on the charitable work of the show (based on last year’s figures) and the show organizers have no say in how much policing is put in.
The RCMP decides how much policing is required and tells the City what they are going to do.
How does any business or event deal with an uncontrolled cost that is thrust upon them in this way?
If it was presented up front and was part of the condition for being in the City, the organizers could decide if that was in the budget and plan for it.
A blindside demand three weeks before the show is unacceptable.
When you look at the past 19 years of Cruise-In and all the problems caused by it, there really has not been a need for a huge police presence.
Perhaps the most confrontational moments were caused by police presence and demands in 2013 when the RCMP decreed that any car leaving early needed to be pushed out of the show, and that no car could be driven on the streets during the show for the sake of public safety.
Somehow they made it through that and now it is simply discouraged.
They saw the problems caused by their actions and they stopped.
Now, the RCMP has arbitrarily (it seems) decided that only full members of the RCMP can patrol the Cruise-In – auxiliary members are not adequate.
Again, the history of the show supports that it is a largely calm, mature audience that stays mostly within the laws.
Why do we have this need for so many officers and what part of the job requires a member as compared to an auxiliary?
This sounds like the RCMP trying to justify their position and extort money from a very important public function.
The Cruise-In is a charity fundraiser, it showcases Langley City, it draws enormous crowds to the City, and all is done by volunteers and sponsors.
The exposure and business brought to Langley City ought to be worth something.
Perhaps the mayor and his council need to sit down and decide whether it is worthwhile having the show or not.
If the show is not worth the extra $12,000 in policing (I say extra because I do know that the City puts a lot of effort and money into making the City available for the show), then they should just tell the Cruise-In board that this is the last show, and that next year they should plan to be elsewhere.
It would be an interesting thing to put the offer up to other municipalities to see who would like the show in their area. Maybe 20 years is the shelf life of the show in its current location, but there is plenty of appetite to continue the show somewhere.
Eric Taylor, Langley