The Regional District of Nanaimo (RDN) will extend Oceanside Place’s hours to provide residents with a place to stay cool as B.C. enters a heat wave.
The arena will be open to people needing relief from the heat from 1–5 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, in addition to its regular hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on weekdays, according to a media release from the regional district.
If the Environment Canada heat warning is extended to Sunday, Aug. 1, the facility will again be open to the public from 1–5 p.m.
Public access is available in the arena lobby where residents and visitors are welcome to sit and use the water bottle fill station and public washrooms. The RDN recommends bringing refillable water bottles because the water fountains remain unavailable due to COVID-19 safety protocols and there is a limited supply of bottled water on site.
The Parksville and Qualicum Beach public libraries will also be open to people trying to cool down.
The RDN has also provided bottled water to Mount Arrowsmith Salvation Army to distribute to visitors to its soup kitchen at 187 Alberni Hwy and its food bank at 886 Wembley Road, both located in Parksville. RDN Transit road support agents also have bottled water in their operation vehicles and will offer it to anyone in need.
Heat warnings are issued when daytime temperatures are above 29 C for two consecutive days and overnight temperatures remain above 16 C. Continued high temperatures put many vulnerable populations at risk of heat-related illnesses, including the elderly, infants and young children, pregnant women, people with chronic illness and people experiencing homelessness.
The RDN said it encourages residents to check on neighbours and loved ones who may be unable to leave their homes or whose judgement may be impaired. Anyone living alone in the Oceanside area can sign up for the Keeping in Touch program offered by Oceanside Community Safety Volunteers. A full list of cooling spaces in the RDN can be found here.