Three cooling centres in Castlegar are ready to open if Interior Health Authority activates its community heat response plan.
Last year, the City of Castlegar signed agreements with Kinnaird Church of God, New Life Church, and Way Out Shelter to offer places for Castlegar residents to go when the temperature outside reaches extreme highs.
“These cooling centres are places where people may go to cool down during hot weather like we experienced in 2021,” says Sam Lattanzio, the city’s director of protective services. “Cooling centres are especially important for more vulnerable people, including older adults, children, and those without access to air conditioning.”
The first step that activates a community’s heat response plan is a heat alert trigger which is established through the following process:
Environment and Climate Change Canada (ECCC) and the BC Centre for Disease Control established an alert trigger based on findings from a heat-health analysis and community and region-specific weather conditions.
This has been set as two consecutive days with temperatures of at least 35˚C and overnight temperatures of at least 18˚C.
ECCC communicates the potential for a heat warning to Interior Health and other decision makers a few days prior to a heat event, allowing enough time for partners to mobilize and prepare a response.
Interior Health and other key community partners respond to the heat warning by activating their community heat response plan.
Castlegar’s cooling centres will be available at Kinnard Church of God (2404 Columbia Avenue), New Life Church (602 7th Avenue), and Way Out Shelter (1660 Columbia Avenue) from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. The centres will provide an air-conditioned space, seating, and public washrooms.