Campbell River activates warming centre Wednesday night as temperatures dip

Campbell River activates warming centre Wednesday night as temperatures dip
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Campbell River's Community Centre is seen in this Google Maps screenshot.

Temperatures are expected to dip below freezing in Campbell River this week, so the city says it’s activating a warming centre at the Community Centre so people can escape the cold.

The warming centre, at 401 11th Ave., will open at 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Jan. 10, and run until 7 a.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11, according to the city in a notice Monday.

Environment Canada forecasts temperatures in Campbell River will sit around -3°C Wednesday night before dropping to -7°C on Thursday night, -8°C on Friday night and -5°C on Saturday night.

Therefore, the warming centre may be open multiple nights this week, the city says.

City staff look at Environment Canada’s forecast and, at the discretion of the city manager, provide an overnight centre when temperatures are expected to reach -4°C or below.

(Environment Canada’s forecast for Campbell River as of 3:30 p.m., Monday, Jan. 8, 2023.) 

“The forecast currently suggests low temperatures from Wednesday, January 10 through to Saturday, January 13, 2024, and the Warming Centre may be opened nightly as needed, provided that staff, security and volunteers are available and that there are no major events or bookings scheduled onsite,” the city said in the notice.

It says the warming centre, funded by the Province of B.C. through the city, provides short-term stays, with pets and belongings, including bikes and carts, allowed. Hot drinks and snacks are provided, but beds are not.

Campbell River’s 2023 Point-in-Time Homeless Count found 197 people were identified as experiencing homelessness, compared to 116 two years prior. Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said they were unsheltered, while 43 per cent were sheltered.

Elle Brovold, Campbell River’s city manager, says services like these save lives.

“Having a safe space to get warm is essential for people experiencing homelessness and living outside during periods of cold weather,” said Brovold in the notice.

“The city is working with community organizations and other levels of government on long-term solutions for housing for all and support for people experiencing homelessness and related issues. While we carry out this work, we as a community must provide these types of emergency responses to save lives.”

The city adds the warming centre “will be staffed by individuals with experience working with people experiencing homelessness to ensure necessary support is available.”

It says the centre may also be activated amid significant weather events, like rainfall or storms, that trigger the city’s Extreme Weather Plan.

People can visit the city’s website and social media for more information regarding the centre’s operating hours in the coming days. “Groups with private bookings will be contacted if the Warming Centre will affect programming,” the city said.

READ ALSO: ‘We’ll change lives’: 20 overnight emergency shelter beds open in Campbell River

Ethan MorneauEthan Morneau

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