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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
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 town council approved a returning event of the Ontario Watercross Racing Association (OWRA) for the weekend of Sept. 17-18.

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,” said 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.