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Ottawa construction workers seeing boost in productivity with warmer temperatures

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Ottawa's winter is one for the record books, with temperatures remaining unusually warm into February.

But while outdoor enthusiasts are trying to make the most of the mild weather, construction workers are experiencing a surge in productivity.

Michael Potter, a construction superintendent with Ron Eastern Construction, says the weather has them ahead of schedule.

"This beautiful weather that we've been having this winter has enabled us to be out there and get more boots on the ground," said Potter, who recently moved to Ottawa from New York 10 months ago.

"I've been blessed. It's my first winter in Ottawa and the horror stories that I was told about moving up here that I wouldn't be able to feel my hands and feet until the summertime. Luckily for me, it feels like a typical New York winter."

The Ottawa Construction Association confirms the industry-wide benefits of the mild winter. President John DeVries says the improved working climate is resulting in enhanced productivity across the board.

“Certainly productivity is a lot better,” says DeVries.

"You're not having to stop and warm up. Everything slows down. Your equipment, your body, when it's -30 C, it's all common sense. So everyone's enjoying the benefits of a better working climate."

But outdoor enthusiasts, especially skiers, are finding the conditions are less than ideal.

Damian Cooper, a seasoned cross country skier with more than four decades of experience, says he has never experienced such a mild ski season.

"It's mid-February. It should be cold and my hands should be numb right now," Cooper said.

"I love cold winters. And then the spring comes, and then you get a warm summer. And now, it's all kind of blending into one."

Fellow skier Chris Smith was also outside on an usually warm February day.

"As a Canadian, you look forward to enjoying the winter. But if the winter turns into a Toronto winter, then we're not so happy," said Smith.

"It's alarming how fast things are changing."

For winter trail groomer, Dave Adams, the warmer weather makes trail maintenance challenging.

"It's paper thin. So when we get those warm temperatures, the rain, the whatever, we have no snow inventory to recover and repair," said Adams.

So far this season, Ottawa has yet to hit -20 C, something that has never happened on record.

Conditions are expected to remain warm in the coming week, with daytime highs potentially reaching up to 5 C on Friday.

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