Car­bon­ear gives Targa another try

Coun. Noel votes against mo­tion over safety con­cerns

The Compass - - FRONT PAGE - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON ed­i­tor@cb­n­com­

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 last Tues­day’s 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.

“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.

“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.”

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.

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