The City of Delta is hoping to have more cooling centres available where residents can go if the summer temperature soars to dangerously high degrees again.
The city a couple of weeks back opened cooling centres at all three libraries and several recreation facilities in response to the heat wave.
During council’s discussion last Monday on the city’s reopening plan for municipal hall and parks, recreation and culture facilities, it was noted staff are in discussions with the user groups of the seniors’ centres about the timing of the resumption of programming as each of the society’s ramp up their program volunteers and re-establish services for the older adult population.
The Kennedy, McKee and KinVillage seniors’ centres are each planning to begin programs in the fall under Step 4 of the province’s restart plan.
Delta staff noted further discussions will occur with those society’s regarding the timing and how the city can support a return to normal programs.
In the meantime, the three seniors’ centres will be opened up in September for informal socializing and casual recreational activities in conjunction with a Communicable Disease Plan.
However, the centres will be opened sooner if another heat wave hits as the facilities would also be good locations for seniors to find relief, said Mayor George Harvie.
Parks, Recreation and Culture Director Ken Kuntz agreed, saying arrangements have been made to open those facilities if intense heat arrives again.
Coun. Lois Jackson said it’s a great plan since seniors are especially vulnerable during these hotter weather conditions.
“My house was up to over 98 degrees in my upstairs. I had to drive around in my truck with the air conditioning on,” said Jackson. “Many seniors, as you know, died, and this is something that really shouldn’t have happened. That shouldn’t have happened to all those seniors who were alone and had no place to go.”
Jackson added she hopes the city will notify the public quickly about the additional cooling centres as soon as extreme heat is in the forecast.
The BC Coroners Service reported last Friday that 808 people died between June 25 and July 1 during the intense heat wave.
There were 232 deaths during the same period in 2020 and 181 in 2019.
Urging people to check on loved ones, Delta Police on June 29 on social media noted they responded to nine sudden death calls over a 24-hour period.