Glad to see the regional media touching on this important issue.
New West is once again leading the region on improving livability for renters and people made vulnerable by the overlap of the housing crisis and the climate crisis. Since the horrible 2021 Heat Dome tragedy, our Emergency Management office has worked with Senior Services Society and Fraser Health to identify high-risk buildings and vulnerable residents to assure they have access to cooling. In some buildings that means “one cool room” they can use as a refuge during a heart emergency without leaving their building. For others with mobility limitations or other needs, that means getting a City-supplied air conditioner into their room. They have also done some innovative work in connecting community and building managers to highlight the dangers of extreme heat events.
As previously discussed, the City is also investing in building upon the Province’s Air Conditioner program (being administered by BC Hydro) to assure we have adequate measures in recognition of the increased risk in our community because of our demographics.
We have also identified and called out the need for regulatory change in the Strata Act and the Residential Tenancy Act, with Councillors Nakagawa and Henderson leading the charge here while working with the New West Tenants Union and other organizations. Though “right to cool” motions had a rough ride at the Lower Mainland LGA convention, we will continue to lobby the Provincial Government for these important lifesaving measures, and the Councillors have brought a motion to test whether we can use our Business Licensing powers or other innovative means to force landlords to assure the spaces they are renting at the very least are able to support human life.
This on top of our enhanced Heat Emergency response, installation of new misting stations around town, ongoing efforts to plant more trees and provide more shaded public spaces. Save lives in the short term while we make the legislative changes that will reduce the risk. This is taking action in the face of Climate disruption.