Wasaga Beach car rally expected this weekend calls for increased police presence

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Barrie, Ont. –

Thousands of car enthusiasts are expected to make their way to Wasaga Beach this weekend, but some residents want the much-criticized unauthorized rally to come to an end.

“I don’t think it’s a good idea. I don’t think it’s safe, and I don’t think they should have it,” said one resident who declined to give his name. “I don’t think they should be allowed to have it,” he adds.

However, the city says it does not have the power to ban visitors and that police cannot legally refuse anyone at entry points.

Instead, the city says residents can expect an “enhanced police presence” due to the large-scale unauthorized rally.

Temporary speed bumps have been installed at the entry points to some parking lots to deter car enthusiasts from using the grounds for reckless driving.

As an additional measure, the city has temporarily closed the lot on Spruce Street and its Playland lot in Beach Area 1.

On Friday morning, Cody Alkenbrack arrived in Wasaga Beach for the weekend rally and said it was a fun event that does not promote illegal or unruly behavior.

“There are a lot of people who give this a bad name,” he says. “We are not here to cause problems for the locals. We don’t want the headaches. We don’t want the problems with the people.”

Daniel Carvalho says he’s sure there will be a big rally, “one person doesn’t hurt the whole crowd”.

Still, police warn there will be a zero tolerance approach, with an emphasis on road safety throughout the weekend. They say the vehicles will be towed to impound stations without notice if necessary.

Last year, more than 200 tickets were issued and several vehicles were towed over the three days that car enthusiasts and spectators alike descended on Wasaga Beach.

At one point, things got so out of hand with thousands of cars screeching with burning tires and rubber that police temporarily closed the town to non-residents.

NEW PENALTIES FOR ABUSIVE CONDUCT

On September 12, the province increased penalties for anyone charged with acrobatic driving, which doesn’t just apply to speeding.

Aggressive driving, tailgating, racing with another vehicle, intentionally cutting another car or preventing someone from passing will result in a stunt charge and an immediate 30 day license suspension.

Additionally, drivers can now be charged at a specific location such as a parking lot, beach, park, bike path, trail, farmland, or sports field.

Anyone accused of acrobatic driving will also have their vehicle quickly towed to an impound for 14 days.

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