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Central Okanagan cooling centres open, busy as heat wave continues

Community agencies are also distributing cold water, ice packs, hats and sunscreen
No shortage of fun happening out in Okanagan Lake. (Aaron Hemens/Capital News)

A Kelowna non-profit distributed over 600 water bottles to help residents cool off throughout a weekend of extreme heat.

Kelowna’s Gospel Mission’s executive director Carmen Rempel said outreach vans were out all day from Friday to Sunday to distribute cooling items.

“We popped up a cooling station at the Queensway bus loop as well by 2 p.m. on Friday afternoon,” she said.

She said the cooling station was up throughout the weekend along with the other cooling stations the city has opened up.

“Between the cooling station and our vans being out on the streets, our staff and volunteers gave out over 300 water bottles on Saturday and again another over 300 water bottles on Sunday,” she said.

READ MORE: Heat wave: Cooling centres open in Kelowna

READ MORE: Cooling centres available in Kelowna for those without shelter

She said the heat wave has brought the community together as it has opened many people’s eyes to the struggles those experiencing homelessness face, especially during extreme weather events such as this.

“Our mandate is to serve people experiencing homelessness and who can’t get inside, but there are all sorts of people who find themselves outside, in distress and in need of cooling, so we’ve found ourselves providing cooling and water for families, for seniors who found themselves stuck downtown for longer than they thought they’d be.”

And as the province continues to bake under the intense heat wave, cooling centres will continue to be open for everyone in the Central Okanagan.

There are several places to cool off in Kelowna, West Kelowna, and Peachland. COVID-19 protocols will be in place at each cooling centre, which means masks and physical distancing are mandatory inside. Hand sanitizer will be available as well.

In Kelowna:

  • Parkinson Activity Centre (1700 Parkinson Way) - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
  • Rutland Activity Centre (765 Dodd Road) - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In West Kelowna:

  • Lakeview Heights Baptist Church (2630 Alhambra Drive) - 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.

In Peachland:

  • Peachland Community Centre (4450 6th Street) - 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Rempel said the Mission is open to donations of more water bottles they can distribute, as well as gas cards or cash for gas to keep their outreach vans running and able to reach other residents in the streets.

More cooling centres will be available throughout the week, according to the Central Okanagan Emergency Operations. Information is available through its website.

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Twila Amato

About the Author: Twila Amato

Twila was a radio reporter based in northern Vancouver Island. She won the Jack Webster Student Journalism Award while at BCIT and received a degree in ancient and modern Greek history from McGill University.
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