New Life Church is one of three organizations that will provide cooling centres in Castlegar for the rest of 2021 as well as 2022. Photo: Google Street View

New Life Church is one of three organizations that will provide cooling centres in Castlegar for the rest of 2021 as well as 2022. Photo: Google Street View

Castlegar makes deal with churches to provide cooling centres

Kinnaird Church of God, New Life Church, and Way Out Shelter will all offer a respite from the heat.

The City of Castlegar is expected to sign agreements with two local churches and a shelter to provide cooling centres for the rest of this year and all of next.

The memorandum of understanding will see the Kinnaird Church of God, New Life Church, and Way Out Shelter offer places to go when the temperature outside reaches extreme highs.

City council also approved $2,000 from its COVID-19 community support grant fund to buy automated external defibrillators for each organization.

At a previous meeting, council asked city staff to check with local churches about their ability to provide cooling centres. Several replied that they are not open due to COVID or lack air conditioning, while others did not respond at all.

However, the Kinnaird Church of God said it has already been providing a cooling centre between 10 a.m. and 8 p.m. The Way Out Shelter is open Thursday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and indicated it can be open seven days a week if needed. New Life Church said it would be interested in partnering with the city to be a designated cooling centre.

All three meet the requirements for cooling centres contained in Interior Health’s heat alert and response planning guide.

Under the draft memorandum, the cooling centres will be available from June 1 to Sept. 30, open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and provide an air conditioned space, seating, and public washrooms.