Officials in Hope have announced a cooling centre at Hope Secondary school Saturday in response to a second heat wave in the Fraser Valley.
The centre, located at 444 Stuart Street, will be open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. It remains unclear if the centre will be remain open beyond Saturday.
Hope temperatures hit well over 30 C on Friday, but there were no official places residents could cool off.
The town has few indoor places where someone could just hang around and beat the heat, other than the library. When contacted by The Standard, they said they would be open Friday until 5 p.m., but then closed for the long weekend.
Fraser Health has confirmed that it is the responsibility of municipalities to decide to set up cooling centres. Every community in the Eastern Fraser Valley, including Agassiz, Chilliwack, Abbotsford and Mission, all have cooling centres set up for their residents in places like sports centres or community halls.
But the District of Hope said they rely on information to come from Fraser Health before setting up community cooling centre. 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.
“This may be due to the temperatures forecast neither being as hot nor as long-lasting as the previous ‘heat dome.’ The District relies on receiving competent medical advice and will continue to work with Fraser Health, Hope and Area Transition Society, and other volunteer groups to make these things happen.”
He added that cooling centres need volunteer staff, security, supplies in order to function.
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. Hope hit 33 C on Thursday and is expected to hit 35 C by 5 p.m. Friday. There is currently a heat warning in effect for Hope and the rest of the Fraser Valley by Environment Canada that is expected to last until Saturday evening.
The closest cooling centres to Hope are the Agassiz Ag Rec, which is open from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and several in Chilliwack, including a misting station just off the highway at the Tourism Info Centre.
-with files from Sarah Gawdin
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