May 8, 2006

Nova Scotia cancels the Festival of Speed

Sydney, Nova Scotia – The Cape Breton TT Festival of Speed has been cancelled, following official news from the provincial government that it will not permit the event. The 53 km motorcycle road rally had been planned for over a year, with knowledge and tentative support of the Provincial Department of Tourism as a signature event.

“The official word delivered by the province came as a devastating blow and without notice after almost a year of work and official filings for sanctioning and insurance were completed,” says Maureen Carroll, chair of the Cape Breton Festival of Speed Association. “The province has been well aware of the event and designated it as a Signature Event, with no indication that they had fundamental issues, beyond the understandable need to pass the public safety requirements which were being organized by a professional technical team and race director. It appears that the process of proper and formal evaluation and communications were flawed within the departments.”

The Festival of Speed was initiated by the Membertou Development Corporation, and was based on the Isle of Man TT (Tourist Trophy) event. To date, there have been 5,000 room-nights booked six months in advance; the Association estimated a forecast of $15 million dollars in economic impact. The event had the support of the municipality, federal government and the economic development agencies on Cape Breton Island, along with community groups and organizations, Carroll says.

“As a community-based volunteer organization, we are very disappointed to have to cancel the event,” Carroll says. “The abrupt decision is being forced by the provincial government in what can only be described as a very heavy-handed manner. The province allowed the time, effort, expectations and investment of the community to continue to build for the best part of an entire year, without a formal response from all departments until now.”

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