Canada Games Oval in Halifax, Nova Scotia Boosting Speedskating Interest
Nova Scotia's speedskating community says the new long track speedskating oval on the Halifax Common is boosting local interest in the sport.
Close to 300 people took part in marathon speedskating races at the oval last weekend.
That piece doesn't recount the entire story of the track but drops a hints that it wasn't meant to be kept around forever:
She predicts the sport's popularity will grow even more if the city decides to keep the track.
"What happens in cities that have a speedskating oval is that you become a magnet for training for speedskaters," said McGinn.
A little bit of leg-work reveals that Halifax Common, an urban park in Nova Scotia, has been converted into a 400m track in order for the city to host the Canadian Masters Championships and the Canadian Winter Games. It's scheduled to be dismantled in March, but many local voices are asking the city to make it a permanent feature.
Good info from The Coast includes the fact that six refrigeration units are needed to maintain the frozen track, three of them bought by the city at a cost of $300,000 and the remaining three purchased by the Canada Games organizers.
On-going operating costs and benefits are also discussed:
Operating and maintaining the oval is pegged at $110,000 per season, and something like 150,000 person-days will be spent at the oval this winter---less than $1 per visit. Compare that to one-day megaconcert events that brought maybe 10,000 people to the Common, costing the city $100,000 per concert, plus hundreds of thousands of dollars in hidden provincial costs ($600,000 for Paul McCartney) plus the disruption of the Common for weeks at a time---all for the private profit of one promoter who closed down shop owing hundreds of thousands of dollars to local businesses.
And the intangible benefits of the oval are immense: the health benefits alone probably pay for themselves; people are happily, excitedly coming downtown for fun; winter has suddenly lost some the perpetual gloom that hangs over this town; and the Common has been reclaimed at night---it is now a safe destination as hundreds of people become the eyes and ears of shared community.
I found a lot of YouTube videos of skaters enjoying the oval. I'll link to one of them. Follow the suggestion video links to see a whole bunch more.