Another Targa presentation in Marystown receives hearing, little support

George Macvicar
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The Southern Gazette

The decision by the Town of Marystown to ban the Targa road race from its boundaries will not go away.

Although the Marystown Targa Concerned Citizens’ Committee is promoting the safety of the annual Road Race, although no one was injured images of this race accident a couple of years ago still remain for most residents. Paul Herridge Photo

The Concerned Citizens Committee, fighting to re-instate the car race within the town in 2014, had two more presentations of a detailed appeal to council last week – a 14 page presentation for council as a whole Tuesday night and an earlier 80 page format, which was given to Mayor Sam Synard in a personal session Monday night.

Spokesman Mike Brennan, and about 50 supporters, briefed the councillors on a compromise agreed to by Targa Newfoundland in which the vehicles would race a new route starting at Bren-Kir Industrial Ltd. on McGettigan Boulevard, south down over Canning Bridge, onto Water Street East and Marine Drive to Reddy Subdivision and return. The race would also run starting at 6 p.m. and return, thus avoiding any inconvenience to regular daytime business traffic in the town.

“Safety is greatly enhanced, addressed in the first presentation and new route with designated viewing areas on high ground.

“Sixty-five per cent of businesses are closed and 95 per cent of residents are taken out the original route (involving residential areas of town).”

Mr. Brennan said the committee surveyed town businesses and those residents who would still be impacted, during the new 6-7:20 p.m. race time, and an overall 92 per cent of respondents were in favour.

“We respectively request a one year extension of the Targa rally with the new proposed route. Let’s have one shot at making this work for all concerned parties.”

Mr. Brennan’s proposal involves using the Targa road rally as a kick off for a proposed 4-5 days fall festival.

“Targa is a big multi national media launch with 270 million viewers watching the rally. The festival needs the big attraction to compliment the smaller programs, (like a soap box derby and ‘muscle car’ show.)”

Comments from readers on The Southern Gazette web page stories have been more negative about the race than positive.

One respondent called “Targa event is a dangerous nuisance. The town council made a decision to put a stop to it. Let’s hope that the town council stands by its decision.”

‘Kevin’ wrote “About time this has gone from Marystown. Where is the concerned group for the displaced fish plant workers, poverty, homelessness.

“This is a race that goes through a town. There is a chance of loss of life, loss of property.”

Robert Lymburner, chair of the Marystown Targa Committee in recent years, wrote “Targa Newfoundland is ‘home grown’, and something of which we should all be very proud. It has put our province and our country on the international scene of motorsport.”

Councillors agreed to review what they called “new” information and revisit their decision to cancel the race in 2014. Coun. Leonard Pittman said “another presentation is coming to council as well in support of Targa and another couple against.”

Coun. Lisa Slaney asked to meet with the committee to hear the entire presentation being offered.

Mayor Synard, who has been a staunch supporter of Targa during its 12-year history with the town, said he “respected the committee’s presentation. I agree with looking at other presentations.

“It’s all about communications and new information.”

After the public presentations, the regular council meeting received two committee reports – one from the Protection to Persons and Properties and the other Special Events and Tourism – both recommending motions to the whole council to stand by it earlier decision in February to ‘not’ allow the road race this year.

A motion during the Burin Town Council meeting, earlier that evening, reaffirmed that council’s earlier decision not to accept the Targa request for a four-year return of the road race to the town. Stemming from discussion of a letter from businessman Tom Hollett, printed in the Southern Gazette Mar. 4 edition, to reconsider the economic impact on the town saw a motion passed unanimously to bar Targa in 2014.

Marystown Coun. Pittman had reiterated Tuesday the decisions by the Town Councils of Gander and Clarenville to also bar Targa Newfoundland from those communities.

Organizations: Concerned Citizens Committee, Bren-Kir Industrial, Marystown Targa Committee Burin Town Council Town Councils

Geographic location: Targa, Marystown, McGettigan Boulevard Water Street East Marine Drive Clarenville

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