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Targa returning to Marystown

The 2006 Lotus Exige of Stan Hartling and Andy Proudfoot was knocked out of the 2017 Targa Newfoundland on the first competitive day of the rally
After a four year absence, Targa Newfoundland is returning to Marystown in 2018. - Targa Newfoundland (Facebook)

Council votes unanimously to bring road rally event back to town next year

MARYSTOWN, NL – Targa Newfoundland will return to Marystown in a big way in 2018.

Marystown council voted unanimously during Tuesday’s meeting to enter into an agreement to bring the main Targa event back to the community next September.

As well, the town will also host the Tom Hollett Memorial Bambina, a secondary Targa road rally event introduced for the first time this past summer and conducted solely in the southern region of the Burin Peninsula.

Deputy Mayor Gary Myles, chairman of tourism and special events, said the committee held a meeting on Friday with Targa Newfoundland president Robert Giannou.

Myles said Giannou made a comprehensive presentation to the committee. Following Giannou’s departure, the committee discussed the matter at length, he said, coming to a decision to recommend that council bring the event back.

The previous council voted not to renew the town’s contract with Targa in 2014.

“Targa is an international event and the mandate of the special events committee is to make things happen in the town, not prevent them from happening,” Myles told the Southern Gazette after the meeting.

“No valid reason, to my knowledge, was ever given for Targa to be taken away in the first place.”

According to a story in the Southern Gazette from February 2014, the former council’s decision was based on safety concerns. It was the first of what would be many public disagreements between Mayor Sam Synard, who supported continuing the event, and that council.

Myles said the feedback he’s heard in recent weeks – since making it known publicly the committee was going to look into bringing Targa back – has been mostly positive.

That matched with the message he heard from residents while campaigning for the recent municipal election, he said.

“Having said that, there are going to be naysayers, there are going to be critics, opposition, but that’s going to be the case anyways,” he said. “The residents, generally speaking, want Targa to return.”

During the meeting, Myles said no decisions have been made yet regarding road closures.

The possibility was discussed Friday of appointing two or three members of the tourism and special events committee to act as liaisons between Targa and the town, he said, so that they can sit in on the meetings where those decisions are made.

Coun. Keith Keating, co-chair of the tourism and special events committee, said making sure information about the event is communicated to residents will be a priority this time around.

During Friday’s meeting, Myles said Coun. Nora Tremblett raised the possibility of contacting businesses affected by the road closures and encouraging them to capitalize on the event rather than “just accepting it.”

Tremblett continued with that train of thought during Tuesday’s council meeting.

“These people have money in their pockets and they don’t mind spending it,” she said.

pherridge@southerngazette.ca

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