Unsanctioned car rally in Wasaga Beach, Ont. frustrates residents, business owners
TORONTO -- Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) say they responded to more than 400 calls over the weekend from frustrated residents and business owners over an unsanctioned car rally in Wasaga Beach.
In a statement, OPP said they responded to 439 calls for service in the areas of Clearview, Springwater, and Wasaga, and laid 383 charges, including for stunt driving, to motorists between Friday and Sunday.
Those charged with stunt driving lose their license for a period of 30 days, their vehicle is towed and held for 14 days, and they can receive a maximum fine of up to $10,000, according to police.
Authorities say hundreds of car enthusiasts descended on Wasaga Beach over the weekend to show off, flooding sidewalks and blocking traffic.
Belleville resident Josh English told CTV News Barrie that he attended the event to meet other car enthusiasts, not to disrupt the community.
"We don't support what's going on like this," he said. "[But] yes, we love our cars."
Police say they knew what to expect from last year's car rally and increased their presence in the city throughout the weekend.
They also blocked off parking lots and installed speed bumps in certain areas. However, English said that only caused those rallying to take to the streets instead. But he opted for a more subtle gathering.
"We just had like a nice car meet by the water just to show them that we can be peaceful if we want. That'd be a little better than this," he said.
This year's rally took place outside Stephanie Weaver's business on Main Street.
"It sounds like you're getting a massage next to a drag race," Weaver said of the noise.
After two consecutive years of the rally, Weaver hopes police can do more to prevent a third.
"We know it's going to happen, we can't really seem to stop it," she said.
Weaver isn't the only one frustrated by the annual rally.
Wasaga Beach resident Doug Lewis noted that the noise from the cars is disruptive and fills the air with the smell of burnt rubber.
"The regular people can't get up and down the street properly because of this," Lewis said.
Police worked to disperse the crowds Saturday and later confirmed that a total of 70 vehicles were towed from the streets, mostly for safety infractions.
"Anyone that wants to come to our community and put our officers safety and the safety of our community at risk is going to be held accountable," said Const. Elizabeth Newton of Huronia West OPP.
With files from CTV News Barrie reporter Kraig Krouse