Column: Cruise-In move a ‘good news, bad news’ scenario

The suggested relocation of the Langley Good Times Cruise-in to Aldergrove would be great news for that community.

It would not be good news for Langley City.

It appears that there is no chance Cruise-In will take place in the City this year. Society president Wayne Patterson has stated his group will either move to Aldergrove or not operate the highly successful car show and community event at all. It may well be the end of the line for the event, if it does not work out to move to Aldergrove.

He said the City was simply asking Cruise-In to absorb too many costs. In particular, asking the society to pay a portion of policing costs for Friday night was too much for the directors to stomach. Considering that Cruise-In does not have any Friday night activities in Langley City, their reluctance to pay for any policing costs is completely reasonable.

What is particularly unfortunate is that this year marks 20 years since Cruise-In started. Initially, it was a small show on the one-way portion of Fraser Highway, staged to help draw attention to downtown businesses.

It soon grew much larger, drawing 100,000 people and as many as 1,500 vehicles on display. This is not at all surprising, given the many car enthusiasts in Langley and the surrounding area, and the unique venue that the streets of the City offered.

The benefits it has brought to Langley City have been massive exposure, a free event open to all, additional business for some (but not all) local businesses and a large sum each year for charities.

All those benefits could accrue to Aldergrove. That would be a good thing. Langley Township Mayor Jack Froese is very open to the event moving to Aldergrove, a community he has a soft spot for, and is quite positive that the Township would not be asking Cruise-In for nearly as much money to offset additional policing costs. The Township and Cruise-In directors will be gathering information over the next 30 days before a final decision is made on this year’s show.

The streets of Aldergrove could be very conducive to offering a similar atmosphere for Cruise-In. The biggest challenge would be that Fraser Highway is a major though street, so a good detour route is essential.

Given the can-do attitude of many Aldergrove residents, this can likely be easily overcome. When Remembrance Day  takes place at the Aldergrove Legion each Nov. 11, Fraser Highway is closed for a time (not as many hours), and it doesn’t seem to be an issue. That event has got larger each year and people in Aldergrove have easily adjusted.

Cruise-in is an opportunity for many volunteers to help out – something that Aldergrove has plenty of. It would be an opportunity to showcase Aldergrove’s business community and other attractions. It would also put Aldergrove on the map and offer exposure in a way that has rarely occurred before.

Many Aldergrove residents have felt for years that the Township treats their community as a poor cousin to the rest of Langley. Having Cruise-In there would change that. The biggest one-day event of the year anywhere in Langley would now be in Aldergrove.

There are still details to work out, and it isn’t a done deal by any stretch of the imagination.

However, the idea of moving to Aldergrove seems to fit in well with the vision of the directors of Cruise-In, which is to operate a family-oriented car show from which local charities benefit.

Given that the Township seems to be pretty flexible on the charges it would levy, an Aldergrove Cruise-In could end up benefiting both the community and charities even more than the Langley City show has.

 

Frank Bucholtz is a retired editor-turned political blogger. His thoughts on issues affecting the South Fraser region can be found on his blog at frankbucholtz.blogspot.ca.