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Fraser Health and Hope District to come up with solid plan for extreme weather shelters

Mayor of Hope says they will be clearing up confusion over protocol for cooling centres
On one of the hottest days of the summer, June 28, families gathered at Lake of the Woods along Highway 1 for some respite from the heat. (Jessica Peters/ Hope Standard file)

A meeting planned for Aug. 11 will help smooth out miscommunications around cooling and warming centres in Hope, says the mayor.

As temperatures hit 40 C in Hope on Friday, July 30, many were left wondering why nobody had set up a cooling centre. One had been set up during the previous heat wave, where temperatures were steadily well over 40 C.

Fraser Health had told The Standard last Friday that municipalities are in charge of setting up centres, while earlier in the week, the District of Hope said it was at the discretion of Fraser Health.

Hope Mayor Peters Robb said he met with Fraser Health and neighbouring communities on Friday to discuss the protocol. He had also been in touch with the Fraser Canyon Hospital’s lead, Dr. Aseem Grover through the day. By day’s end, the District had announced a cooling centre would be opened at Hope Secondary for the following day, in the afternoon.

Because of the confusion, a meeting to iron out the details for future weather event has been set up for August 11, Robb said in an email that was sent to The Standard and others.

“As you may know cooling and warming centers are new,” he said. “Some municipalities organize and run the operations and some have local health providers to operate… We all recognize something needs to be done, and we are working together to keep all of our community members safe during any major weather event.”

The town has few indoor places where someone could just hang around and beat the heat, other than the library.When the temperatures soared during the previous “heat dome” event this summer, it was the Hope and Area Transition Society who set up a cooling station in the Hope Recreation Centre.

“This District has so far not been contacted by Fraser Health to assist in the set up of a cooling centre,” District CAO John Fortoloczky said last week.

A heat wave is considered to be in effect any time the weather is 30 C or above for consecutive days, or above 32 C on a single day. At least one person in Hope died during the extreme heat wave earlier this summer.

READ MORE: Recent heat wave proves deadly for man in his 70s in an RV in Hope


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Jessica Peters

About the Author: Jessica Peters

I began my career in 1999, covering communities across the Fraser Valley ever since.
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