During the extreme heat in late June and early July, 2021, residents and visitors sought places to cool down. Temperatures surpassed 40 C throughout the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. (Black Press file photo)

During the extreme heat in late June and early July, 2021, residents and visitors sought places to cool down. Temperatures surpassed 40 C throughout the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen. (Black Press file photo)

Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen planning for extreme heat events

Temperatures in summer of 2021 surpassed 40C throughout the regional district

After the extreme heat in the early summer of 2021, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen is planning how to best respond to similar events in the future.

The regional district’s community services committee will apply to the Union of B.C. Municipalities Community Emergency Preparedness Fund Extreme Heat Risk Mapping fund.

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“Extreme heat is a significant risk to life safety in the region with the highest consequences related to public health and social functioning,” Jeremy Dresner, senior energy specialist with the regional district, said in a report.

“Planning for how we might most effectively respond to future extreme heat events is a key part of business planning for a local government, effective emergency operations centre response and a safe region.”

The grant funding will be used to plan for an extreme heat response program, with mapping to show extreme heat risk assessments.

The planning will consider climate change using various emissions scenarios for the entire regional district. The planning will also distinguish groups at higher risk due to age, illness, socioeconomic status and occupation.

In addition, the grant funding will be used for planning to upgrade existing facilities to address extreme heat risk reduction, as well as for new infrastructure in parks.

Earlier, the 2019 Preliminary Strategic Climate Risk Assessment for British Columbia identified a heat wave as one of the greatest risks to the province. In Canada, extreme heat events are the leading cause of weather-related deaths, Dresner said.

The funding for this project can contribute to a maximum of 100 per cent of the cost of eligible activities, up to a maximum of $30,000.

Each community involved can receive $30,000 or this can be combined under a single regional bid.

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Heat waveOkanagan-Similkameen Regional District