OPP says there will be 'zero-tolerance' at Wasaga Beach car rally
Thousands of car enthusiasts are expected to rev into Wasaga Beach this weekend, but some residents want the highly criticized unauthorized rally stopped in its tracks.
"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," says one resident who didn't wish to provide his name. "I don't think they should be allowed to have it," he adds.
However, the town says it doesn't have the authority to ban visitors, and police can't legally turn anyone away at entry points.
Instead, the town says residents can expect a "stepped-up police presence" because of the unsanctioned large-scale gathering.
Temporary speed bumps have been installed at entrance points to some parking lots to deter car buffs from using the lots for reckless driving.
As an added measure, the town temporarily closed the lot on Spruce Street and its Playland lot at Beach Area 1.
On Friday morning, Cody Alkenbrack arrived in Wasaga Beach for the weekend rally and said it's a fun event that doesn't support illegal or unruly behaviour.
"There are a lot of people that give this a bad rap," he says. "We're not here to cause problems for the locals. We don't want headaches. We don't want problems with people."
Daniel Carvalho says while he's sure there will be a large gathering, "one person doesn't make the whole crowd bad."
Still, police warn there will be a zero-tolerance approach, with a focus on traffic safety throughout the weekend. They say vehicles will be towed to impound yards with no notice if necessary.
Last year, more than 200 tickets were issued, and multiple vehicles were towed over the three days that car enthusiasts and spectators descended on Wasaga Beach.
At one point, things got so out of hand with thousands of cars screeching tires and burning rubber that police temporarily closed the town to non-residents.
NEW STUNT DRIVING PENALTIES
On Sept. 12, the province increased penalties for anyone charged with stunt driving, which applies to more than just speeding.
Aggressive driving, tailgating, racing another vehicle, intentionally cutting off another car or preventing someone from passing will result in a stunt driving charge and immediate 30-day licence suspension.
Additionally, drivers can now be charged in a specified place such as a parking lot, beach, park, bike path, trail, farm field or sports field.
Anyone charged with stunt driving will also have their vehicle promptly towed away to an impound yard for 14 days.