The oval has now closed for the season.
The news was greeted by a collective
groan in our newsroom, and judging from the tweets that followed, the feeling
is pretty universal.
It would have been great to have the Oval open for March break, but the
city says fluctuating temperatures is making it impossible to maintain the ice.
So, it's time to move on. The question is - move on to what?
Even though crews will begin dismantling the site next week, the city says
it still hasn't settled on a long term plan to turn the site into a year round
facility. It held public consultations last October, and plans to hold more in
the "near future". It's also asking residents to fill out an online survey
Some of the choices are inline skating, roller skating, ultimate frisbee,
special events, road hockey and nordic walking.
On Friday, I asked our twitter followers what they would like to see. So
far, a roller skating rink is the overwhelming favourite in this completely
But don't expect to see any of the options ready to go this summer.
Pending budget approval the plan is to start work on building permanent
structures on the site.
John Henry, the city's manager of community and recreational services, says that means for much of the summer the oval will be a construction site.
"At this point, we don't know how much of the oval will be restricted, and
closed off from access," says Henry. "Certainly there is going to be a lot of
construction going on around the oval, there will be construction equipment,
dust.....it won't be the most conducive site".
The plan now is to re-open the oval for skating on December 15th, and the
city hopes the site will be a year round facility by 2013.
In the meantime, that section of the common will be something of an eyesore
again this summer.