Ottawa

Rainy days rough on Ottawa golf courses, beach patios

Record rainfall in Ottawa has been bad for businesses that rely on sunny skies to draw crowds, including golf courses and businesses that draw customers from the city's beaches.

'The ground is just soaked. There's puddles where there shouldn't be puddles,' says course manager

A golfer hits a ball beside a large puddle at Pine View Golf Course in Ottawa. The club says that rainy weather is impacting their bottom line. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

The unusual number of rainy days in Ottawa this year is hurting the bottom line of businesses that rely on sunny weather to turn a profit.

The city has unofficially seen 94 days with rain so far in 2017, out of a total of 192 days. No other year has surpassed that total by this time of year since Environment Canada started keeping records.

While the wet weather has likely been good for umbrella makers, some Ottawa businesses are wishing the rain would just go away.

Golf courses have been particularly susceptible to the consistent rainfall.

"The ground is just soaked. There's puddles where there shouldn't be puddles," said Mike Copeland, general manager of Pine View Golf Course. "And it just makes for messier conditions than we would ideally like in mid-July."

More rain means fewer golfers on the course. And that, of course, means lower revenues.

'Wet doesn't really describe it'

"Revenues are down. Our top line is suffering," said Copeland. "We'll see come the end of the year if we can recover from it, but it's been a very slow start."

Pine View Golf Course general manager Mike Copeland says its been a very slow start to the golf season. (Jean Delisle/CBC)

Copeland thanks a busy tournament schedule, as well as Pine View's central location, for keeping the club afloat this year while the rain scares off the typical day-to-day crowd.

"It's just discouraging, I think, to the golfer to wake up every day and see rain in the forecast. On the nice days we're certainly packed. But on the iffier days people tend to find other things to do," said Copeland.

'Generally if I look out the window and it's really pouring hard, I'm going to just pour another cup of coffee and stay home.- golfer Bob Gelfand

Golfer Bob Gelfand says he normally gets out once or twice per week, but this year it's been difficult to find a routine.

"Wet doesn't really describe it. It's probably been the wettest [summer] that I've ever experienced," said Gelfand.

"Generally if I look out the window and it's really pouring hard, I'm going to just pour another cup of coffee and stay home."

Conditions at Pine View are not as bad as they are at Stittsville Golf Course, which is owned by the same team. Rain forced the club to close the course for three days in the past week.

Metcalfe Golf Club has also re-opened after shuttering its doors for several days last week.

Golf courses aren't the only ones with the rainy day blues.

The Westboro Beach Café relies on sunny weather to attract beach-goers and has struggled with the torrent of rainy days.

"It's a very bad year," said part-owner and manager Eddie Zein. "It's one of the worst I've seen in the past 16 years I've been down there."

Hard on employees

Zein says the café has been closed for 16 of the 44 potential days it could have been open.

"I'm hoping next couple of months it will get better," he said. "This is just getting hard on me, hard on employees. I barely can keep the employees anymore. They need hours, they need a schedule. But I can't."

Even when it is sunny, Zein said fluctuating E. coli levels at Westboro Beach have also kept potential customers away.

For Zein, all that's left is an optimism that the rest of the summer brings good weather.

"There's nothing much we can do. It's Mother Nature," he said. "So, I'm hoping for another two months of sunny days." 

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