Carbonear gives Targa another try

Coun. Noel votes against motion over safety concerns

Andrew Robinson
Published on December 3, 2016

A lineup of cars at Targa in Carbonear. Next fall, the event will return to the Conception Bay North community for the first time since 2013.

©TC Media file photo

The Town of Carbonear is ready to give Targa Newfoundland another chance.

Two years ago, the town backed out of plans to host one of the later stages for the travelling road race. At the time, the town cited the event’s cost to the municipality and the use of town resources as factors in the decision.

But at the Nov. 22 council meeting, a motion was approved to bring the event back to Carbonear next September. It will mark the first time since 2013 that Targa has visited the Conception Bay North community.

Representatives from council recently met with Targa officials to review the organization’s proposal to return to Carbonear.

According to chief administrative officer Cynthia Davis, Targa will form a committee to look after all arrangements, including setting up safety marshals. There will be an overnight stay in the community, with a car show also taking place.

Probably if I hadn’t been through that experience, I probably would not have opposed it. Coun. Ray Noel

“They would actually have a luncheon and a car show, so that there would be a lot more activity and economic spinoffs for the town in the way that they’re doing it now as opposed to the past,” said Davis.

The decision to bring back Targa was not a unanimous one. Coun. Ray Noel volunteered as a marshal several years ago and witnessed an incident that convinced him no matter how safe you attempt to make the event, considerable risk remains. He was stationed at the corner of O’Donovan’s Lane and Patrick Street.

Coun. Ray Noel said a past experience as a race marshal influenced his decision to vote against Targa Newfoundland’s return to Carbonear.
TC Media file photo

“I’ll give credit to the organizers, because I think they do a very good job at trying to protect the public as best they can,” said Noel, who wasn’t among the council members to meet with Targa officials. “But unfortunately the situation I was in that particular day as a marshal, this individual came up O’Donovan’s Lane, and even though there were barricades and ribbons there, and despite my request to not walk into oncoming traffic, she just ignored me totally and proceeded to walk inside the barriers.

“Fortunately, nobody was injured, but it left me with a very uneasy and helpless feeling. That stayed with me for a while. Unfortunately, when I think about the races now, that comes to my mind. 99.9 per cent of the time, nothing is going to go wrong, but that’s a challenge for sure — when you can’t control everybody’s behaviour.”


‘Carbonear pulls out of Targa race’

Noel acknowledges that other council members and town staff know how he feels about the event.

“Probably if I hadn’t been through that experience, I probably would not have opposed it,” he added, noting too Targa has addressed the issue of tying up town resources with the race.