In a bid to protect residents during increasingly frequent heat waves, Port Moody residents will now encourage developers to add air conditioning and filtration systems to new housing.
Council unanimously supported the measure without discussion at the July 26 council meeting.
“In addition to heavily increased rainfall and flooding, we will see increased average seasonal temperatures and the growing likelihood of severe provincial wildfires over multiple months of the year that will bring, in turn, dangerously unhealthy air conditions throughout our region,” stated the report written by Couns. Amy Lubik and Hunter Madsen.
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Of the 619 British Columbians who died during the 2021 heat dome, at least 414 did not have air conditioning. There were also 124 deaths in which investigators did not report whether the deceased had air conditioning.
Approximately 7 percent of people who died in the 2021 heat dome had air conditioning, according to the B.C. Coroners Report.
While outdoor temperatures cooled at night, homes without air conditioning remained hazardous throughout the heat dome, consistently exceeding 26 C, according to the Coroners Report.
In a bid to keep those homes cooler during the next heat wave, the Port Moody report recommended city staff work with the province to help seniors, people with disability and low-income earners get access to some type of air conditioning.
The motion also asks that Mayor Rob Vagramov advocate for air conditioning and air filtration to be included in government rebate or retrofit programs by sending a letter to Port Moody MLA Rick Glumac as well as B.C.’s Minister of Environment, the Minister of Poverty Reduction, and the Parliamentary Secretary of Community Development.
Speaking to CBC News, Robyn Chan, chair of the Vancouver City Planning Commission, said there haven’t been substantial changes to B.C.’s extreme heat response.
“I haven’t seen anything put into place that is actually providing people with cooler temperatures, which is what they need to survive,” Chan said.