Winnipeg mayor calls on province to open cooling centre in response to extreme heat
City partners with local agencies to ensure water is available in hot weather
The City of Winnipeg wants the provincial government to open and staff a cooling centre in the city's downtown as the province braces for extreme heat.
As the record-setting heat makes its way east, southern Manitoba is expecting temperatures as high as 38 C on Saturday.
Winnipeg Mayor Brian Bowman says the city is opening the main floor of City Hall on Thursday until July 4 as a cooling centre, but health care is ultimately under the provincial jurisdiction.
"This is another risk right now that our community faces, vulnerable Winnipeggers face," Bowman said at a press conference on Wednesday.
"If they're not going to open a cooling centre, we will."
Environment Canada issued heat warnings for most of Manitoba Wednesday. Temperatures could soar to the high 30s and last until at least Saturday, the weather agency says.
A spokesperson from Infrastructure Minister Ron Schuler's office said in an email that Manitoba's Emergency Measures Organization has been in touch with the city about its plan and communicated its willingness to work collaboratively, but hasn't received an official request for a cooling space.
Bowman says he is concerned for Winnipeggers in light of the sudden deaths reported in B.C. due to the extreme heat.
"Extreme heat can be deadly. On this issue, like others, we need all hands on deck."
The city is also working with community groups to ensure water stations are available. There will be a tent set up in Central Park starting on Thursday where people can go to get bottled water, the mayor says.
Splash pads and many city-owned pools will also be open to help people cool down.