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City of Quesnel seeks grant for joint project on extreme heat

The project would be with the City of Williams Lake and the District of 100 Mile House
Jessica Mackay holds her 2-year-old daughter Maggie at Ten Mile Lake Provincial Park on a sunny Sunday, June 26. The park was bustling with swimmers, boaters, kayakers and stand-up paddleboarders eager to take up the Cariboo’s first hot stretch of summer. (Rebecca Dyok photo — Quesnel Observer)

The City of Quesnel will be applying to UBCM’s Community Emergency Preparedness Fund stream for extreme heat risk mapping, assessment and planning for a joint project with the City of Williams Lake and the District of 100 Mile House.

Quesnel city council provided approval Tuesday, June 21.

“The thought process is if we’re going to get a consultant it would make sense to amalgamate the three communities into one larger project, although it will be looking at each community specifically so it’s not one generic type of a solution,” said city manager Byron Johnson.

If approved, the grant would provide the City of Quesnel’s share of $30,000 towards a $90,000 project which the City of Williams Lake would administer.

The project would map extreme heat and areas, populations, structures, or assets at risk between now and the 2080s, and complete a risk assessment of the social, economic and environmental impacts of extreme heat events. It would also help to create a plan for response and risk reduction for future extreme heat events, which may dovetail with the City of Quesnel’s carbon reduction plan or be incremental to that plan.

“Heat really knows no boundaries, and I’m just wondering why it’s just the municipalities and not the entire Cariboo Regional District?” said councillor Ron Paull.

Read More: A timeline of B.C.’s record-setting extreme heat event in June 2021

Johnson said municipalities presumably hold more responsibility for large-scale infrastructure, which has the potential to serve as cooling centres during extreme heat events.

“I believe this is more of an urban-oriented grant,” noted mayor Bob Simpson.

Last month, B.C.’s public safety minister announced an automated alert system would be in place in June to notify residents of dangerously high temperatures like last year’s fatal heat dome, which caused more than 600 heat-related deaths.

At the time, Simpson said the City was connecting with the senior community and others to see if there were any emergent needs.

“We weren’t getting queries, but what we learned from the coroner’s report is that maybe we dodged a bullet, and we need to be a bit more deliberate,” Simpson said of extreme heat events.

Three shade structures will be installed and ready for Spring 2023 at LeBourdais Park. Two will be positioned at the playground and one at the spray park.

(With files from The Canadian Press)

Read More: Rising temperatures trigger heat warning for several parts of B.C.

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