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Death at last year’s Wharf Rat Rally not why council reviewed insurance, says CAO

The Wharf Rat Rally’s headquarters on Water Street in Digby.
The Wharf Rat Rally’s headquarters on Water Street in Digby.

DIGBY, NS - Digby Municipal Council says the death of a Wharf Rat Rally participant at last year’s event was not why it recently reviewed its insurance.

CAO Linda Fraser, who brought the matter before council, confirmed the death wasn’t the cause for looking into the municipality’s insurance policy, and that instead it was a routine procedure.

Council discussed the insurance situation at their Committee of the Whole meeting Apr. 10 and concluded the airport can no longer be used by the rally.

“Our insurance policy is due April 1, so as a matter of course we reviewed it,” said Fraser.

“We were certainly aware this had happened last year, but the review was routine,” said Fraser.

The incident occurred Sep. 4, 2016 and involved a 62-year-old man from St. John’s, NL competing in the time trial event, held on the airport’s runway. The event often sees contestants exceed 200 kilometres per hour on their motorcycles.

The man lost control of his motorcycle during his time trial. He was taken to hospital with serious injuries, and later died.

“It was certainly on everyone’s minds when council looked into the insurance,” said Warden Jimmy McAlpine.

The municipality made many attempts to find a solution to the issue, which included looking into leasing the property to the Wharf Rat Rally. Another was buying insurance specifically for the event, but that was also not viable, said Fraser.

According to McAlpine, the lack of insurance liability coverage applies to any event not relating to airplanes and/or other airport activity.

“It was a sad thing that happened, and anytime there’s a bad accident, you have questions and want to make sure everything’s right,” he said.

“Without being able to be 100 per cent liability coverage, we feel we can no longer ensure that."

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