Edmonton

Central LRT station a last resort shelter during extreme cold weather

On cold winter nights, Edmonton’s Central LRT station will be a last resort for the city’s most vulnerable.

The station can be used as a shelter from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. when temperatures drop below -20 C

Edmonton has an estimated 1,700 people living on the streets, according to a 2016 count. (CBC)

On cold winter nights, when the risk of frostbite and hypothermia spikes, Edmonton's Central LRT station will be a last resort for the city's homeless.

Temperatures on Christmas Day plummeted to -31 C, with windchill.

Central LRT station can be used as an emergency shelter from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. when temperatures drop below -20 C with windchill, the city announced in a press release Thursday.

"People will be encouraged to first go to a local shelter because they offer more warmth and support services than alternative shelters," the press release said.

Edmonton shelters were not full during extremely cold nights in 2016 and 2017, according to the city.

Homeward Trust will coordinate with local shelters to determine if the additional space is needed. Once local shelters reach 90 per cent capacity, the city will open the Central LRT station.

The station will work with local shelters to provide security.

About 50 people per night sought shelter at heated LRT stations last winter, including Churchill Station.

This winter, Churchill station will not be open overnight because of construction.