Surrey gets homeless out of smoky air

SURREY – Surrey Urban Mission is helping the homeless escape the smoky air, thanks to dollars from BC Housing, said executive director Jonquil Hallgate.

 

It’s a first for the city. In the past, extreme weather locations have only been called to open in the winter.

 

Peter Fedos is the extreme weather co-ordinator for Surrey-White Rock. He said given the unique conditions due to wildfires throughout B.C., particulates in the air are causing problems for some people, including those living on the streets.

 

While there’s been discussion at the regional level – and even a pilot proposal for shelters to open when temperatures hit 38 C – Fedos said nothing has officially been rolled out to deal with extreme heat.

 

"So we’re looking at how Surrey deals with it, regardless of the rest of the community," he told the Now. "So there’s no extreme weather response in Surrey but what we’ve got is we have some service providers staying open to allow people to cool down and to get away from the particulates."

 

Metro Vancouver released an air quality advisory Sunday due to high concentrations of particulates from smoke from wildfires.

 

The advisory says people with medical conditions should hold off on strenuous activities and stay indoors to reduce exposure. Of particular concern are infants, the elderly and those with diabetes and lung or heart disease.

 

Fedos said there’s many on the street who have diabetes and are either undiagnosed, untreated or both.

 

"We just want to see how it goes. It’s Surrey’s solution. So there’s no region wide strategy and this is a pretty good example of why something needs to be put in place."

 

But he noted the situation is unique.

 

He likened it to Ash Wednesday bushfires in ’83 in Melbourne, Australia, which he experienced first-hand.

 

"There they were having ashes and particulates cover the city for one day. Here, you’ve got ash dropping in Coquitlam in the upper elevations," Fedos said. "Waking up that Sunday the smell was just unbelievable. It brought back memories for me. Seeing the smoke, I’m in Ocean Park, and our cul de sac was covered."

 

Fedos said many predict B.C. is going to continue to see very dry summers.

 

"If this is what happened in a really short drought, the longer climate change goes on, the dryer it gets… You don’t get this kind of weather without a consequence."

 

Meanwhile, Delta is closing several parks due to the weather and air quality conditions, including Boundary Bay, Watershed, Cougar Canyon, North 40 and Delta Nature Reserve.

 

Weather Network forecasts no to little rain, with a chance of showers on Monday, July 13.

 

areid@thenownewspaper.com

Just Posted

VIDEO: Vancouver Giants earn a 3-1 victory over Everett in season-opener in Langley

Langley’s major junior hockey team opened the season at home with a victory over the Silvertips.

White Rock rail forum leads to renewed calls for relocation

Upgrading safety is not enough say local politicians

McCallum says Surrey LRT communication plan close to election is ‘perceived interference’

McCallum ‘gravely concerned’ Surrey and TransLink will violate election financing rules, but city says all rules will be followed

White Rock’s Johnston Road to re-open on schedule: city

One lane in each direction expected to open by Friday at 7 p.m.

CUTENESS OVERLOAD: 2 sea otters hold hands at the Vancouver Aquarium

Holding hands is a common – and adorable – way for otters to stay safe in the water

B.C. nanny charged with sex abuse of 3 children

Saanich Police seek potential victims of Johnathon Lee Robichaud from Central Saanich

‘I’m no quitter’ on climate change issues, McKenna says at G7 ministers meeting

David Suzuki says if McKenna believes what she’s saying, she too should quit

Free vet clinic caters to pets of homeless, low income owners in Lower Mainland

The first such clinic in Langley will take place later this month.

VIDEO: Inside an eerily empty mall in Canada

Only seven of 517 retail spaces are open for business as the grand opening postponed to next year

B.C. wildfires burned large areas affected by mountain pine beetles: Experts

The mountain pine beetle epidemic affected more than 180,000 square kilometres in B.C.

Tens of thousands without power following tornado in Ottawa region

Hydro Ottawa says more than 170,000 customers were without power early this morning

BALONEY METER: Do Liberal policies mean a typical family is $2,000 richer?

MPs took to Twitter to talk how ‘typical’ Canadian families have more money due to Liberal policies

Tornado touches down in Ottawa and Gatineau, Que.

Environment Canada says cars and homes have been damaged by severe thunderstorms and high wind gusts

Most Read