he City of Greater Sudbury is still in the planning stages to create cooling spaces for its vulnerable population, similar to the warming centres it operates over the winter.
Earlier in June, the YMCA announced it was closing its warming centre at the YMCA at the end of the month. The city’s other daytime warming centre– at 199 Larch Street– closed at the end of May.
Gail Spencer, coordinator of shelters and homelessness programs, said staff are now turning their attention to helping the city’s homeless to navigate any upcoming heat waves.
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“Even though we don’t need warming centres, people experiencing homelessness still need places where they can access washrooms, drinking water, to get out of the elements a little bit,” Spencer said.
“So the city is in the planning stages of how to ensure those services will continue even after our warming centres close.”
Spencer said the city has already used the downtown library branch on Mackenzie Street as a cooling centre during two recent heat waves, but is still looking into establishing other locations.
“Pre-COVID, when libraries were always open they were just sort of a natural fit for people to go in and get into a cool space when they needed to,” Spencer said.
“This year it’s been specific because the libraries aren’t fully open yet, but we were able to open Mackenzie library specifically for people in the downtown core to get into a cool space during an Extreme Heat Alert.”