Council insulted by Targa response

George Macvicar
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Scott Giannou loads the outside rear tire cutting as sharp a corner possible during Targa 2012 at the Marystown spectator hilltop turn.

Mayor rejects council’s press release

Marystown Mayor Sam Synard and his new council have had their first public disagreement.

Council, at its last meeting in January, voted to reject a request from Targa Newfoundland to allow it to return with its road race to the town for another four years. Like Burin that same night, the event was voted down by the two councils – in the case of Burin the four-year term was a problem.

In Marystown, councillors did not feel Targa had adequately addressed the safety issues arising from the two race stages in the town. Councillors said residents had expressed their own concerns during campaigning in the municipal general election last September.

Targa officials issued a release last week disputing any safety issues, noting its disappointment and accusing the council of voting on the issue “without due consideration or without any consultation with us or with community organizers and businesses in Marystown and surrounding areas …”

Coun. Leonard Pittman was particularly vocal about what he considered safety concerns during the presentation by Targa officials at the January public council meeting. He denied “council never looked a the facts. Targa had ample opportunity (to make its argument) and residents could respond.”

Coun. Pittman said he took exception to the Targa criticism of council and wondered why when the decisions were made in Gander and Clarenville not to continue Targa “there was no attack (on those councils).”

He proposed a motion, seconded by Coun. Ruby Hoskins and supported by all councillors except for the mayor, to have Chief Administrative Officer Dennis Kelly write Targa detailing council’s stand and “our displeasure with its treatment of council.

“Any hope they had of approaching council again (on the road race), they threw it out the window.”

When councillors asked Mayor Synard to make a media release on council’s position, he refused.

The mayor said he had not participated in any discussions with the new council since September (the last road race in the town) and when he asked for a deferment on the vote for medical reasons was denied.

“In my 25 years on council that’s never happened and I don’t know of it happening on other councils.

“Council could have waited another two weeks to vote on the issue.”

Deputy-Mayor Al Spencer indicated in chairing the meetings in the mayor’s absence, he did propose the mayor’s deferment request to council for a vote.

Mr. Synard added he would support any councillor’s request in the future for deferment on a particular vote for medical reasons.

Coun. Lisa Slaney insisted “council’s stand was taken jointly and plenty of opportunity for residents (the mayor and businesses) to speak was given. (Targa’s statement) was misinformed and insulting.

“My decision was one on an issue that had been before council for years but nothing was done. Mr. Mayor, you had an opportunity two weeks before the vote.”

Coun. Darlene Lafosse-Blagdon asked the mayor if he was not obligated to speak and support a decision taken as a whole by other councillors, in his role as chief spokesman for the town. Mr. Synard did not respond.

Deputy-Mayor Spencer agreed to make the press release on behalf of council in place of the mayor.

Organizations: Targa detailing council

Geographic location: Targa, Marystown, Gander Clarenville

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