Town of Wasaga Beach and OPP prepare for another unsanctioned car rally

The sound of screeching tires and the smell of burning rubber is expected to invade Wasaga Beach this weekend with the return of another unauthorized car rally.

In anticipation of the event, OPP and the town say there will be an increased police presence, hoping to steer people away from prohibited behaviors.

“Respectful and lawful visitors are welcomed. The rules of the road will be enforced. If you choose to break the law, you may be charged,” OPP posted to social media regarding the weekend’s event.

The H20i car rally that revved into town last month resulted in nearly 200 charges for participants, including one individual accused of smashing the windows of police cruisers.

Today, police announced that 20 people were charged with 37 criminal and highway traffic act offenses and warned that more charges could be coming as the investigation continues.

Many locals said the unsanctioned car rally on the weekend of Aug. 27 showed a “lack of respect,” and the town’s mayor said past rally participants “have shown complete disregard for public safety, various laws, and the police who enforce them.”

Meanwhile, business owners worry about the negative impacts of the rallies. Store manager Debbie Predum said the last event scared away customers.

“Loyal customers that live in town,” she said. “They don’t want to come out. They don’t want to, so the business part of it declines quite a bit.”

The town said it has reached out to rally participants “on a number of occasions” to discuss hosting a legal event but claims the municipality’s inquiries have gone unanswered.

Two years ago, things at the car rally got so out of hand one night that the police started checking driver’s identification and turned away non-residents.

However, the town says it has no authority to ban visitors, and police can’t legally turn anyone away at entry points.

Provincial police warned participants that aggressive driving, tailgating, racing, and other such activities will result in stunt driving charges, resulting in a driver’s license suspension and vehicle impoundment.

Under the stunt driving laws, motorists can be charged in parking lots, on bike paths, trails, farm fields and sports fields.

With files from CTV’s Christian D’Avino

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