Future of Targa on peninsula on shaky ground

George Macvicar
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The start/finish line for the annual Targa Road Race each September in Marystown and Burin has been erased.

Targa vehicles on Marystown road race start line. Paul Herridge Photo

The Southern Gazette

Both councils voted during regular Tuesday meetings not to accept an agreement with Targa to allow the race in their towns for the next four years as requested by race organizers.

Marystown Protection to Persons and Properties Committee chair Coun. Ruby Hoskins presented a recommendation and motion refusing to renew the Targa agreement for the term of the current council.

Councillors pointed to the safety concerns of residents and road closure inconveniences expressed to them during door-to-door campaign in September in the town.

Former committee chair Coun. Leonard Pittman said “there were issues raised often during his four years as committee chair that council did not address.

“I personally drove the course before the race and found about 43 kids and only five adults on one stretch (volunteering as course marshals). I realize insurance is in place (purchased by Targa organizers) but safety is my issue.”

Mr. Pittman also noted other towns like Clarenville and Gander have dropped the event in their communities.

Mrs. Hoskins indicated her support of the motion was “based on my feedback from residents and businesses during the (municipal) election.”

Coun. Lisa Slaney, although supporting the motion, was concerned about the charity support Targa offered to groups like the Autism Society of NL and Easter Seals.

Mr. Pittman said the town always provided funds to the race organizers, most of which from his understanding went to the charities. He felt this could be continued.

Coun. Slaney urged the Special Events Committee to consider dispersing any profits from the Shining Seas Summer Festival planned for August to go toward these organizations to help offset any reduced funding.

In Burin, Planning and Development Committee chair Coun. April Pitcher indicated in her recommendation to deny the four-year agreement from Targa was the length of the request.

“It’s not possible due to the nature of the event.”

She said the request was deferred.

Targa had presented its annual sporting event in Marystown for the past 12 years as one of the cornerstone stages of the weeklong race. In Burin, the race returned to the town after a number of years absent due to a dispute over a more specified display of vehicles and drivers.

gmacvicar@southerngazette.ca

Organizations: Autism Society of NL and Easter Seals, Special Events Committee

Geographic location: Targa, Marystown, Burin Clarenville Gander

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