Today, Mayor Nina Bifolchi released the following statement regarding the unauthorized gathering of cars at Wasaga Beach this past weekend:
“Over the past weekend, the safety of our community has been put at risk on several occasions and this is not acceptable.
“A group of individuals participating in an unauthorized car rally visited our community and broke the law. This included reckless and dangerous driving, driving dangerous vehicles, damaging public and private property, breaking into businesses, disturbing the peace and endangering people’s lives.
“As in the past, prior to the rally, the city met with the Ontario Provincial Police. The OPP has identified community safety as their priority and has an operational plan in place to ensure the community is protected. They said police would respond to illegal activity with zero tolerance, which was the message the OPP delivered to the public ahead of the weekend.
“The city greatly appreciates the men and women who wear the uniform of the Ontario Provincial Police and patrol our streets, but it is clear that police resources this past weekend did not allow for the vigorous response required to maintain law and order. Numerous examples have been brought to the city’s attention where laws have been broken and no police action has been observed. This is unacceptable to the residents of Wasaga Beach.
“It is regrettable that two police cars were damaged. I’m glad the occupants are unharmed.
“The city has no authority over the OPP, but we are asking OPP officials to review what happened and take steps to ensure that there is never a repeat of what we have witnessed.
“On behalf of our City Council and all residents, as well as our many law-abiding visitors, I call on Solicitor General Michael Kerzner to ensure that the Ontario Provincial Police are properly equipped and prepared to ensure that Wasaga Beach is no longer endangered. .
“People have asked why we don’t just close our municipal borders to rambunctious car rally participants, why don’t we just turn these vehicles around. We have been informed that this is not a legal option. We have contacted those associated with the car rally, at various times in the past, and asked them to follow our special events process to ensure a safe and fun gathering. However, not once did we receive a response. Again, I call on the rallying community to consider working with us. An organized and safe gathering is possible here.
“Finally, our community has a long tradition of welcoming visitors. Hospitality is part of our fabric. But we insist that everyone at Wasaga Beach obey the law. And we ask people to conduct themselves in a respectful manner. Anything less than that – please stay home.