Car show ditches downtown Langley over money squabble

The Langley Cruise-In — a car show that draws tens of thousands of people to the city’s core each year — is leaving town.

Organizers got into a dispute with the city over policing costs, so they’re moving to the municipality next door.

“The city thought it was too much of a burden to do the Cruise-In,” said event president Wayne Patterson.

Patterson says he’s close to finalizing an agreement to move the event to downtown Aldergrove.

Aldergrove is part of the township of Langley, which is a separate municipality from the City of Langley, where the event has been held since 1997.

“As of right now, we’re 99.9 per cent sure that it’s going to work out with Aldergrove,” he said.

Hot rods, hotter tempers

The city claims it costs $55,000 to bring in extra police for the event, which is held on a Saturday, and to deal with people who drag race, drink and use drugs the night before.

One of many hot rods that were a feature at the Langley Cruise-In since 1997. The event is moving to downtown Aldergrove in 2017. (Langley Cruise-In/Twitter)

At a meeting earlier this year, mayor Ted Schaffer asked Patterson to cover a quarter of the cost.

Patterson argued the Cruise-In had no association to any Friday night events, so he shouldn’t have to pay for more officers.

He says he walked out of the meeting feeling like he was at a stalemate with the city.

Schaffer, on the other hand, felt the discussion was productive and says he was shocked months later when he heard the Cruise-In was moving.

“We have been working within the organization for 20 years and all of a sudden, to get blind-sided,” he said.

“I thought we had a great relationship going. Like most relationships there [are] ups and downs but not to this extent.”

New beginning

Patterson says he’s confident the Cruise-In will go ahead in downtown Aldergrove on September 9.

Business owners near the new proposed site are hoping the event will give them an economic boost.

“It will be more publicity for Aldergrove,” said Lou Beer who runs Veronica’s Gourmet Perogies.

“I think Aldergrove is kind of a forgotten gem in the Langley area. It’s had its seedy reputation but there’s so many beautiful new homes here and the community is really starting to build up.”

What about downtown Langley?

Downtown Langley Business owner Randy Caine met with Schaffer this week about putting on a much smaller car show to replace the Cruise-In.

Downtown Langley business owner Randy Caine wants to put on a smaller car show to fill the void left by the Cruise-In. (Jesse Johnston/CBC)

He says it will be held on a different weekend so that no one is offended.

Caine says he’ll miss the Cruise-In but he believes the move could be a blessing in disguise.

“Maybe it had outgrown us and maybe they needed something bigger than this small venue but it has created quite a hole in the community,” he said.

“Truthfully, restaurants did well but many of the other businesses, like the local hardware store, didn’t do that well.”