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Watercross racing to hit Penetanguishene shores this fall

'When you say excessive noise, that’s an understatement. It’s very smelly, it’s very noisy, I consider it environmentally inappropriate for our town,' says councillor, who voted against allowing event
2020-02-12-WaterCross Midland1
Watercross racing on Midland's Little Lake Park from 2020. File photo.

The sounds of snowmobiles will be resonating throughout Penetanguishene’s waterfront once more this September.

At a recent regular meeting of the committee of the whole, Penetanguishene council approved a returning event of the Ontario Watercross Racing Association (OWRA) for the weekend of September 17 and 18 this autumn.

To be held in the water off the shore of Rotary Champlain Wendat Park, the beach, basketball court, and a section of field adjacent to the parking lot at the end of Scott Street will be closed to the public as the event gets underway. A section of parking lot will be closed on the Friday beforehand to allow for setup.

Also permitted in the approval was an exemption of the OWRA from the excessive noise bylaw, through submission of request.

Coun. Brian Cummings who chaired the meeting called the event a “good news story."

However, Coun. Debbie Levy spoke against the proposal.

“I will be voting against this,” stated Levy. “When you say ‘excessive noise’, that’s an understatement. It’s very smelly, it’s very noisy, I consider it environmentally inappropriate for our town. I’ve opposed it in the past, and I’ll continue to oppose it.”

Watercross machines are snowmobiles that have been modified to race on open water. To control environmental risks like oil spills, all snowmobiles will be equipped with one-way valves to mitigate gas or oil entering the water; additionally, pit areas will provide buckets for gas disposal purposes.

Council carried the motion to approve the event through a majority vote.

Further information on events by the organization can be found on the Ontario Watercross Racing Association website.

The staff report for the OWRA event, including details and map, can be located on the agenda page of the Town of Penetanguishene website.

Meetings of Penetanguishene council are held on the second Wednesday of each month, and can be watched live on Rogers TV cable 53, or on the Rogers TV website.

Archives of council meetings are located on the Town of Penetanguishene YouTube channel.