Surrey’s extreme weather “action plan” for this winter has 140 shelter spaces in seven locations.
The plan came before council for consideration Monday.
“We seem to always be scrambling with extreme weather, both in the winter and in the summer,” Coun. Linda Annis said. “I’m really quite fearful we’re going to be short of space this winter.”
She said city staff should “work more closely” with BC Housing to ensure Surrey has a plan in place “in the summer for winter, and in the winter for summer, not starting to put together a plan in fall for winter and scrambling sort of in the eleventh hour.”
Mayor Brenda Locke said the city also needs to look for a location in Newton and Whalley. “I’m really please that there is two locations already up to speed,” she said. “I think this is probably the soonest I’ve seen us ready to go so I’m happy about that.”
A corporate report indicates Extreme Weather Alerts are issued by the Homelessness Services Association of BC when the following conditions occur: When temperatures are at or below 0 degrees Celsius; and/or during significant snow accumulation or sleet/freezing rain conditions; significant windstorms that may present danger to people living in wooded areas and/or makeshift shelters such as cardboard boxes or lean-tos; and/or rainfall of at least 50 mm in a 24-hour period or periods of extended heavy rain creating conditions of ground saturation; and/or temperatures being near zero degrees with rainfall that makes it difficult or impossible for those experiencing homelessness to remain dry; and/or temperatures reported as ‘feels like’ zero degrees Celsius or below with wind chill considerations; and/or Weather Alerts issued by Environment Canada such as wind warnings, excessive rain, snowfall warnings, and storm surges in tidal areas.
Once an Extreme Weather Alert is issued, EWR shelters open and mats are made available, the city’s daytime supports through Parks, Recreation & Culture can be accessed as needed and the city’s communications staff help raise awareness an EWR alert is in effect and supports are available.
According to the corporate report, 140 shelter spaces will be available in seven locations in Surrey this winter and of those, six of have been confirmed by HSABC and inspected by Surrey Fire Services. “The Nourish Surrey site is currently being renovated and will be available in late 2022 or early 2023,” the report indicates.
This winter shelter will be available at Pacific Community Church, operated by Cloverdale Options (25 spaces) from 10 p.m. – 7 a.m.; Pacific Community Resources Society (“PCRS”) in Surrey’s city centre operated by PCRS (youth only, 10 spaces) from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m.; Fleetwood Christian Reform Church in Fleetwood, operated by Lookout (14 spaces) from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m.; Atria Shimai House City Centre operated by Atira (women only, six spaces) from 8 p.m. – 8 a.m.; Mount Olive Lutheran Church in South Surrey, operated by Options (25 spaces) from 10 p.m. – 7 a.m.; Alliance Church in city centre operated by Lookout (30 spaces) from 9:30 p.m. – 7:30 a.m. closed Saturday nights; and Nourish Surrey in city centre, operated by SUMS (30 spaces, site is under construction and will be opening late 2022/early 2023.
Also, the following City of Surrey facilities will provide a “safe and welcoming space” in the form of daytime warming spaces during EWR alerts: Cloverdale Recreation Centre 6188 – 176 Street Cloverdale; Clayton Community Centre 7156 – 187A Street; Cloverdale Museum of Surrey 17710 – 56A Avenue; Surrey Sport and Leisure Complex 16555 Fraser Highway; Fleetwood Community Centre 15996 – 84 Avenue; Fraser Heights Recreation Centre 10588 – 160 Street Guildford; Newton Recreation Centre 13730 – 72 Avenue; South Surrey Recreation & Arts Centre 14601 – 20 Avenue; Grandview Heights Aquatic Centre 16855 – 24 Avenue; Chuck Bailey Recreation Centre 13458 – 107A Avenue, Guildford Recreation Centre 15105 – 105 Avenue; Surrey Libraries – City Centre Branch 10350 University Drive; Surrey Libraries – Clayton Branch 7155 187A Street; Surrey Libraries – Cloverdale Branch 5642 176A Street; Surrey Libraries – Fleetwood Branch 15996 84 Avenue; Surrey Libraries – Guildford Branch 15105 105 Avenue; Surrey Libraries – Newton Branch 13795 70 Avenue; Surrey Libraries – Ocean Park Branch 12854 17 Avenue; Surrey Libraries – Port Kells Branch 18885 88 Avenue; Surrey Libraries – Semiahmoo Branch 1815 152 Street; and Surrey Libraries – Strawberry Hill Branch 7399 122 Street.
The corporate report states listed Parks, Recreation, & Culture facility hours may be expanded from 7:30 a.m. until 7 p.m. depending on “operational feasibility and community need” while library branches are generally open from 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. on weekdays, and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends.