Mother Nature Not Always Willing to Attend Major Events
Prince George, B.C. – Prince George has not seen a ‘typical’ winter for three years now, and that has had an impact on some events the City has wanted to host.
Just last weekend, the North American Biathlon Championships announced the early March event had to be moved to Canmore Alberta because of a lack of snow at the Otway Nordic Centre which was supposed to host the event.
That move was a significant blow for not only the Otway Nordic Centre, but the City of Prince George as well, as it means all economic benefits of hosting more than 250 athletes, coaches and visitors has been lost.
It is not the first major event that’s had to make some last minute changes. During the 2015 Canada Winter Games, speed skating had to be moved to Fort St. John because the conditions at the ice oval in Prince George had deteriorated due to mild weather.
Then there was the Downtown Winter Carnival, held on the 12th of this month. The lack of snow meant the snow carving event had to become an ice carving event, and the ice was brought in from Ness Lake. Mother Nature did decide to show up two days before the Carnival, dumping a significant amount of snow on the City, but ‘plan B’ had already been put into motion.
Mayor Lyn Hall says regardless of what Mother Nature does, or doesn’t do, as the case may be, the City should continue trying to land some major events “I agree, there’s no question we are seeing a difference in our winters. The fluctuations in weather, the fluctuations in snowfall, the freeze thaw cycles, rain when we’ve never seen that before in this area, what I think we need to start to take a look at is the (ice) oval. I know that team is really pursuing an artificial ice surface, and I think we need to start thinking in those kinds of ways, but I don’t think we stop trying to go after these events.”
Mayor Hall says the focus will continue to be on games that are year round “We can do that with the BC Seniors Games, we can do that with the Summer Games, we can do that for BC Games, both winter and summer. We just need to get a variety of games opportunities and go after them, whether its winter or summer, and I would like to see us take a look at more Provincial or National summer games as well. I think that’s a piece we need to go after, there’s a balance there, but we don’t stop going after the winter events, but we do have to have a plan B in place. The weather is changing , and we have to adapt.”
The Ice Oval Society has already stared fundraising for an artificial ice plant, and the Mayor expects the society will be back before Council sometime this year to have the project added as a funded item as a capital project in the future. In the meantime, Mayor Hall says the City will keep making bids to host events “I don’t want us to stop going after these events. We continue to go after, winter, summer, year round games, whatever they might be, we will continue to have our winter carnivals, and I think we need to be prepared to adapt to the changing weather conditions and how they might impact a particular event and what is ‘plan B'”.