Environment Canada released a heat warning for coastal B.C. this morning. Temperatures are expected to reach 29° Celsius, prolonging Vancouver’s summer heat wave.
In response, the Vancouver park board is extending beach and park hours in an effort to help residents cool off.
Second Beach, New Brighton, Maple Grove, and Hillcrest outdoor pools will open at 9 a.m., an hour earlier than usual. Kitsilano Pool will continue to open at 7 a.m. Hours of operation at 14 water parks across Vancouver have been extended to 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. from the usual 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
“We continue to look for ways to help people stay cool during this spell of intense heat and we hope that residents and visitors will be able to take advantage of the extended operating hours at pools and water parks,” Vancouver park board chair Stuart Mackinnon in a city news release.
Water park staff are now in the process of adjusting timers in the parks. Last year, every water park underwent modifications to feature push buttons, conserving water. Each push of the button begins a five-minute cool down for those looking to beat the heat.
Once the heat wave ends, park board staff will review the hours of operation at water parks and pools.
The Vancouver park board installed misting stations at Livingston, Emery Barnes, Oppenheimer, and Thornton parks. It also activated cooling centres at Britannia, Hillcrest, Kerrisdale, Mount Pleasant, Ray-Cam, Roundhouse, and West End community centres, according to Mackinnon in the release.
The park board has purchased 10 water wheelchairs to help make Vancouver pools and life-guarded beaches accessible to everyone. These can be checked out for free on a first-come first-serve basis. Also, beach mats or Mobi-Mats have been installed at Kits Beach and English Bay for those with scooters, walkers, and wheelchairs.
For those with dogs that need to cool down, off-leash parks New Brighton Park, Crab Park at Portside, John Hendry Dog Park, Sunset Beach, Devonian Harbour, Hadden Park, and Spanish Banks have access to water.
The effort to help residents stay cool goes beyond parks and pools. The City of Vancouver is also helping the cause by installing additional temporary water fountains and activating community centres and libraries as cooling centres. The city is also increasing support to any vulnerable Downtown Eastside residents in nonmarket housing.
Vancouverites are urged to take advantage of opportunities to cool off, and drink plenty of water. Park rangers have increased patrols, looking for people that show signs of heat stroke or any other heat-related illness.