Municipalities to Provide Facilities for Heat Relief

The recent heatwave in southern Ontario is forcing many cities to consider how they will offer relief in light of restrictions and facility closures meant to curb the spread of COVID-19.

Libraries, community centers, splash pads, pools, and spaces where residents, without other options, traditionally go to cool down, remain closed due to COVID-19 related health measures.

Under usual circumstances, municipalities open facilities to residents who don’t otherwise have access to a cool space.

Brant County Health Unit’s Acting Medical Officer Of Health, Dr. Elizabeth Urbantke, says she is meeting with municipal officials to create a solution.

“We will continue to work with our community partners, both the city and the county, and other partners to provide cooling measures to ensure they can be in place during the summer months and also to ensure they are meeting the COVID guidelines and measures to keep everyone safe,” Dr. Urbanke says. “A larger space, such as a community centre, obviously with some screening in place as well as physical distancing measures.”

Brant County’s mayor, David Bailey, says the county has already made a facility in Paris available for residents in need to escape the heat.

“We’ve decided to open the front lobby at the Syl Apps (community centre) immediately for a cooling station,” Bailey says. “We haven’t had much call for it in the county, but we do need to make it available. The lobby is a nice, big open space. It gets very cool and has a proper air conditioning system. It’s as central as it can be, or accessible to the biggest population which is downtown Paris.”