Bridgewater receives responses critical of automotive festival’s burnout event

by Keith Corcoran

  • <p>A competitor in the truck pull at the 2019 South Shore in Motion festival in Bridgewater.</p>

Civic politicians will likely ask organizers of the annual automotive festival in Bridgewater to a future council meeting to discuss the summer event following a recent complaint over wheel-spinning at the fest.

Mayor David Mitchell said he's received phone calls critical of the tire burnouts and from people who had to temporarily leave their homes to relieve breathing problems the smoke caused.

Mitchell said concerns have been raised to the town at times over the last number of years about South Shore in Motion, which completed its 15th festival in August.

Rev. Simon Davies of the Bridgewater's Holy Trinity Anglican Church sent one of the latest pieces of correspondence lamenting that aspect. The parish rector called for an end to the burnouts.

"Such activity is completely contrary to any reasonable concerns about human health and environmental care," he told council in a letter. "I hope that the town of Bridgewater values these things sufficiently to take action for future years."

A South Shore in Motion festival society director agreed to comment for this story on behalf of the organization but didn't return a telephone call to LighthouseNOW and was unresponsive to subsequent social media messages seeking a response.

The festival takes place each summer at the South Shore Exhibition grounds and features events such as vehicle show 'n' shines, truck-pulls, model displays, and other attractions with a link to the automotive industry from big rigs to off-highway vehicles.

Davies, on church letterhead, explained the "prolonged" activity on August 10 resulted in "a plume of acrid and noxious smoke over a wide area, and which lingered for a long time at ground level."

The Alexandra Avenue resident said, "The effect of the smoke, on me at least, was immediate coughing and watering eyes. As it was a hot evening, the windows of my house had been open, and before I realized what had happened, the bedrooms of my house were also contaminated with the smoke."

South in Motion's online schedule indicated burnouts were to start at 5 p.m., August 10. The start of the next event, a backhoe competition, was slated for 7 p.m.

Davies went on to comment, "If the organizers of the event had contacted the Bridgewater town council to ask permission to set light to a heap of tires, the request would have been immediately denied, for reasons clear to everyone ... the performing of prolonged tire burnouts is effectively the same thing."

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