Weather woes force cancellation of provincial speed skating meet

Unseasonably warm weather earlier this week has forced the cancellation of this weekend's Ontario long track speed skating championship in Ottawa.

Problems at Brewer Park oval becoming more frequent, frustrated organizers say

The skating oval at Brewer Park was closed earlier this week due to warm weather. Although the temperatures have now plunged, this weekend's provincial long track speed skating championships still had to be cancelled. (Tony Choueiri/CBC)

Unseasonably warm weather earlier this week has forced the cancellation of this weekend's Ontario long track speed skating championship in Ottawa. 

Brewer Park's rapidly melting skating oval was forced to close Thursday, and now the worst fears of the event's organizers have come true. 

Maintenance crews were working around the clock to get the ice just right for the 112 athletes coming from across the province — but their efforts were in vain.

"The damage to the oval has been too great," said Ottawa Pacers Speed Skating Club president Julie Colbourne-Milne.

"It is completely devastating for the athletes. There were some tears shed [Friday] morning once the news of the cancellation spread throughout the speed skating community."

Not the first time

Warm weather has caused issues for the Brewer Park oval before.

Warm temperatures also forced organizers to cancel the event in 2016. The year before, similarly mild conditions forced organizers to build the ice directly on the grassy field rather than on packed snow. 

The increasing frequency of such cancellations shows the city needs to step in, Colbourne-Milne said.

"This adds to the proof that we need to work together with the city and build momentum to get a permanent competition and recreation facility in Ottawa, either a covered or refrigerated oval."