1. Preamble

The Cancellation Policy of Orienteering ACT (OACT) is binding on all events organised on behalf of OACT or Clubs affiliated with OACT.

There may be circumstances when is it necessary to cancel or postpone events on the OACT calendar. This will occur when conditions pose a danger to the health and safely of competitors, officials and spectators.

While Orienteering Australia has no distinct policy regarding event cancellation, it does have the following policy regarding competitor safety:

The safety of competitors, organisers and spectators is paramount. 

The image of the sport would suffer irreparable damage if organisers gambled with people’s safety, even if the threat did not eventually materialise. 

Hence the organiser has the responsibility under Rule 26.12 to Cancel a Course where they consider it is dangerous for competitors, officials or spectators.

  1. Responsibility

The decision to cancel or postpone an OACT event should be made by the event Organiser in consultation with the event Controller, if one has been appointed.

The decision should be made as soon as practicable to do so, with consideration given to the 

  • Type of event
  • Distance to the event
  • Whether it is pre-entry or not
  • Level of event – Twilight, JL, AL, NOL, championship etc.
  • Likelihood of problematic conditions prevailing during the event.
  1. Reasons for cancellation or postponement

There could be several possible reasons for cancellation or postponement. Some, but probably not all, are listed here along with the relevant action to be taken.

  • Refusal/removal of Permission by landowner 
  • Event MUST be cancelled.
  • Total Fire Ban (TOBAN)

TOBANs affect all events in the area covered by the TOBAN. 

Events other than totally urban MUST be cancelled.

Totally urban events can go ahead unless advised otherwise by relevant Emergency Services.

  • Air Quality

This covers both the Air Quality Index (AQI) and Fine Particulate (PM2.5) Air Monitoring. 

AQI – If the AQI is estimated to be Hazardous (200+) at the advertised time for commencement of the event:

  • the event SHOULD be cancelled. If the event is not cancelled, competitors must be advised of the situation and warned that they choose to compete at their own risk. This is not a recommended option for organisers.

https://health.act.gov.au/about-our-health-system/population-health/environmental-monitoring/monitoring-and-regulating-air)

PM2.5 – If the PM2.5 is estimated to be Very Unhealthy for All (107-177.9) or higher levels, at the advertised time for the commencement of the event:

  • the event MUST be cancelled. At this level and above, it is considered that event officials should not be put in a situation which may be detrimental to their health.

(https://www.health.act.gov.au/about-our-health-system/population-health/environmental-monitoring/monitoring-and-regulating-air-0#healthcategories)

  • Extreme Weather Conditions

When extreme weather conditions are expected a risk assessment should be carried out as soon as the advice is received. Extreme weather conditions may include very hot conditions, severe thunderstorms, severe weather warning for damaging winds, heavy rain that may cause flooding, likelihood of extreme cold and/or snow.

The event Organiser must consider the safety of competitors, officials and spectators.

Listed here are some guidelines which should be taken into account when making a decision.

  • Hot Weather – When the forecast temperature is above 38°C consideration should be given to cancelling the event or shortening the courses.
    Note: this is most likely to occur during the Twilight Season. 
  • Severe Thunderstorms – In the case of a severe weather warning for thunderstorms assess the likelihood of danger to competitors, officials and spectators, based primarily on the location of the event and possibility of a serious situation eventuating.
  • Damaging Winds – When damaging winds are forecast there is a possibility of falling trees and/or branches. As above, consider the location of the event and safety of competitors, officials and spectators.
  • Heavy rain – Assess the likelihood of restricted access to the competition area and/or flooding during the event.
  • Cold and/or snow – A forecast of snow falling during the entire period of an event is often difficult to assess, as is the effect of extremely cold conditions. Once again consider the type and location of the event and the amount of time people may be exposed to extreme weather.

In the case of any of the conditions described above developing during an event, consider not allowing any more competitors to start. Ensure there are enough people present to implement search and rescue for competitors still on the course if necessary.

  • Public Health Risk

If a major public health risk arises, it is likely all OACT events will be equally affected. The OACT Board will advise whether and when any planned events must be cancelled and when events may resume again. The OACT Board will advise specific guidelines as required.

  1. Advice of Cancellation or Postponement

The timing of the decision to cancel/postpone an event should take into consideration the location of the event in relation to travel time to the event.

Where competitors are likely to have booked accommodation, the decision should be made, if at all possible, no later than 24 hours before the event.

For local events within the ACT area, a decision could be delayed until closer to the event start time:

  • 5 hours before the advertised start time for Twilight events.
  • 2200 (10:00pm) the evening before in the case of JL and AL events.

As soon as possible, information regarding cancellation or postponement of an event should be made available via:

  • Eventor email to pre-entered competitors
  • OACT web site
  • OACT email list
  • Social media – eg Facebook and Twitter

If necessary, signage and/or an official should be placed at the event access point or arena on the day of the event to explain the situation to participants who may have missed the notification of the cancellation.

  1. Refunds

Where an event is cancelled and entry fees have already been paid, a FULL refund will be made available.

Where an event is part of a series where a “Season Pass” has been purchased, NO refund will be available.