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Late winter affecting recreation and business

By Samantha Cantelon



BELLEVILLE, Ont. (15/01/12) -€” Sam Middleton, 6, flies down a hill at Zwick’s Park on Sunday, January 15, 2012 in Belleville. Photo by Topher Seguin.

With this year’s late arrival of winter, many of the seasonal activities and winter festivals were put on hold until the first snowfall, which happened this past Friday.

Most people are usually used to having a white Christmas, but this year was a warm and green one.

Stephanie Williams, a mother of two, from Belleville says “ It doesn’t really feel like winter when there is no snow, but we were able to create a snowman over the break with some slush from the freezing rain.”

In the cold winter season, Belleville has some great outdoor activities such as skating on the bay, ice fishing, cross-country skiing, sledding and festivals such as Marmora SnoFest, but because of the unusual late start to the winter, most of these activities have been on hold until the appropriate cold weather.

There were no winter activities happening, says Larry Glover the manager for Belleville’s parks and open space says.

“ The warm weather was a good opportunity for summer type work such as walkway upgrading in the months of October and November.”

With the warm weather, it seemed that people were carrying on with their outdoor activities. Instead of skating, and tobogganing over the Christmas break, Williams said she and her children went to the park.

The warm weather has not just affected the recreational side of things, it has also affected the sales of skiing and snowboarding equipment.

Darren Rayner, the manager at SportChek in Belleville, said that although the coats and winter wear were selling consistently, the ski and snowboard sales were down.

According to Environment Canada, in 2010 the snowfall in November was 2.8 centimetres, in December 20.8 centimetres and January of 2011 the amount of snowfall was 57.4 cm.

In November of 2011 1.4 centimetres of snow fell, in December we received 6.2 centimetres and this month we have received 12.4 centimetres. These snowfall amounts show the noticeably milder winter that we are having.

Festivals that usually occur such as Marmora SnoFest held in Marmora were affected.

Event co-ordinator Vicki Best said, “We had to plan the event for no snow, or if the snow melted we thought of cancelling the event or boosting our non-dog sled events.”

For now, Best said the event is on but if the snow melts it might be cancelled