Climate change prompts Hamilton to modify its heat bylaw for apartments
Average temperatures in Hamilton have gone up 2 C from 1981 to 2010
Climate change is inspiring the city of Hamilton to shave a month off its bylaw dictating when landlords have to provide heat to their tenants.
Right now, the city bylaw says landlords must have the heat on from Aug. 31 to June 1. The minimum temperature in the unit must be 20 C.
But springs are getting warmer, and summer is getting longer, city staff say. Environment Canada data shows average monthly temperatures for Hamilton have increased 2 C from 1981 to 2010.
If councillors approve it this week, the "adequate heat bylaw" will now dictate that the heat must be on from Sept. 15 to May 15. That would reduce the length of time heat is required for rental properties from nine to eight months.
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The idea came from Tom Jackson, Ward 6 councillor, who says he's been getting complaints from people in seniors buildings.
"As you know, seniors can be very sensitive to extreme heat or cold," he said. And lately, many of them want the air conditioning on in September, not the heat.
"Warmer springs are happening earlier and warmer falls last longer," he said. Now "instead of three months of having air conditioning, four will be available."
City council's planning committee voted for the change Tuesday. City council will vote to ratify it on Friday.
Governments worldwide are grappling with the impacts of climate change in various ways. In 2015, the earth shattered numerous heat records, a U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report showed. It was the hottest year in 136 years of record keeping.
Such temperatures have contributed to an increase in heat waves and other major weather events, the report shows. That includes typhoons and hurricanes. It's also dealt a major blow to coral reefs and marine life.