Moncton High construction shakes up Highland Games

Organizers of the Moncton Highland Games and Scottish Festival say changes about to be made to their venue has put them in a bind.

Festival organizers say expansion for hospital parking leaves them with no room to carry out games

Organizers of the Moncton Highland Games and Scottish Festival say changes about to be made to their venue have put them in a bind.

The games are supposed to be held at the Moncton High School sports field in June, but the Department of Infrastructure and Transportation says it will be using a small portion of the property for expanded parking for staff at the Dr. Georges-L.-Dumont University Hospital Centre.

Construction on the parking lot is expected to start in June.

Stephen Tweedie, a co-chairperson of the games, says changes to the venue won't leave enough space to stage the event and finding another location isn't easy.

"As you can probably appreciate, we've got Highland cattle in there and sheep, as well as the heavy athletic events where you're throwing the hammer, tossing the caber, putting the stone in and so on, and there ends up being some divots in the turf," he said.

After holding the games at different locations in previous years, Tweedie says the Moncton High field is the perfect spot. It drew the largest crowd in the event's seven-year history, he said.

Now with only 50 days remaining until the games, Tweedie says he's not sure what's going to happen.

"Having a small portion of the field taken away from us basically negates the use of that space for us," he said.

"We have no option except to try and find another place to accommodate us, and at this moment I don't know what that place would be."

Tweedie says he hopes the province can reconsider its plans for the parking lot.

The 8th annual Moncton Highland Games and Scottish Festival is a cultural festival featuring pipe bands, dancing, sheep dog demonstrations and Scottish heavy athletic competitions.

The event is scheduled for June 21.