Wednesday, September 5, 2012

TARGA: Safety is First …We Think


Next Wednesday’s running of the TARGA road rally through the streets of Clarenville sure seemed like an afterthought in the discussion yesterday’s Council meeting.    To be fair, this end of meeting information item did turn into a 15 minute discussion that unfortunately,  left me feeling more concerned than I should given the unequivocal guarantees that Council said it was looking for before it finally approved the running of the Clarenville leg of the Targa race for 2012.  

It was a discussion that heard Councillor Rodway proclaim that “It’s is much more safe event  (this year) and I think that this group has a good control over that.  It seems like Targa has done a lot more work in training this year.”  From there the discussion was further peppered with talk of safety tape placement and with words and phrases like “we’re getting”, “will be posted”, “I think”, “hopefully”, “not official yet”, “don’t have the budget” & “seems”.   Let’s just say that after listening to the discussion, I was not instilled with a lot of confidence that the Town knows for certain that the event will run significantly different, and safer, this year than in previous years.

The major argument in favor of Targa on Clarenville streets has always been the economic benefit derived from the running of the event.    The lack of communication between Targa and the Town  (as demonstrated by the uncertainty  in the Council discussion – one week before the race), and the lack of effective communication between Town and the potential Clarenville stage audience says to me that the full potential of the economic benefit of running this race has not been achieved.  So I conclude that we are assuming all of the risk for the bit of the reward we are extracting - it's a off-balance cost/benefit that has never been adequately questioned by townspeople and answered by the race organizers.  

According to Councillor Picket and the Mayor, this will be the make-or-break year for Targa in Clarenville.  Considering the level of uncertainty we are now prepared to accept to "make" the race, I fear to wonder what it would take to "break"  it.

In the meantime, let's keep our fingers crossed behind multi-coloured tape line and hope that no one is hurt enough to “Break” the race.


At the end of the discussion the Town voted to spend $500 on airing radio ads for the event – not to promote and support it but rather to warn people of the danger of it.  This action has undermined the economic rationale for the race and given added credence to the people who argue against the race on the basis that it is an accident waiting to happen.

If Council is still so worried about the issue of safety why are they allowing it to move forward?  


To hear the complete discussion of Council's  discussion on TARGA, visit the PACKET’s website and listen to the Sept 4 meeting beginning at the 23:00 minute mark.    CLICK HERE     


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