There’s been more than the usual tension this year between the Langley Good Times Cruise-In and the City of Langley.
Langley City handed over a bill for extra policing costs to the Cruise-In organizers, there was some very public pushback from Cruise-In, and the City quickly offered to handle the bill.
But the issue hasn’t gone away.
Every time there’s a public event, municipal governments are going to see extra costs. Whether it’s overt costs like traffic control and diversions around closed streets, or hidden costs, like more litter pickup, bylaw enforcement, or policing, every event costs something.
But Cruise-In seems to be singled out in the City. Part of the City’s bill was for policing on Friday night. There are no Cruise-In events on Friday, at all. The City was explicitly holding the volunteer organization responsible for events well outside its ability to control.
Ultimately, our cities can say yes or no to any public event. If an event brings too much trouble, they can shut it down. We’ve seen behaviour ranging from vandalism to littering to violence at events in the Langleys that include everything from sports to Canada Day festivities.
We hope in the future that regardless of the costs that surround an event, our civic governments keep in mind that trade offs are inevitable, and that ultimately no organization can be held accountable for the actions of all its visitors.
We also hope that the Cruise-In will continue, preferably in Langley City. It’s hard to imagine anywhere else in Langley, or even in the Lower Mainland, that combines access, parking, and walkability so necessary to the event’s success.