And will every summer be this hot? 🌡️
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Good morning, Burnaby!

Ok, I'll admit it. It's been hot out there. I pride myself on being able to take the ✨heat✨ as a full-blooded Indian woman who's lived in some very hot places, but, well... it's been hot out there.

I am thinking of our unhoused neighbours who don't have many ways to stay cool right now. Heat exhaustion and heat stroke are real and can be very dangerous.

If you're fortunate enough to have a shady shelter to keep cool, here are some tips I have to beat the heat:

♨️ freeze some damp washcloths or towels and pat them over your face and neck. And while you're at it, utilize all the frozen goods in your house—peas, berries, and ice packs alike—to do the same thing.

♨️ fan on, spray bottle at your side. Spritz yourself when it gets a little too toasty and let the airflow carry the water through the room as well.

♨️ don't spend too much time in the sun!! This is a no-brainer, but worth repeating. The hours of 12-3pm are usually the hottest and these are good hours to stay indoors. If you're outside, make sure to cover your head and the back of your neck.

♨️ if all else fails, head straight to the blissfully air-conditioned mall. This was my family's go-to when we lived in sunny Australia and summer temperatures regularly got up to what we're seeing here right now.

Stay cool and safe out there, Burnaby.

Srushti Gangdev, reporter

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The City of Burnaby has a new plan for developing its annual budgets, which it hopes will speed up the process. 📷 Dustin Godfrey / Burnaby Beacon
Council aims to get budgets done by February moving forward
In previous years, city council has generally passed the annual budget in May—the same month the plan is due and several months after other municipalities

The City of Burnaby has a new process for developing its annual financial plan—one that will see the municipality finalizing the budget in February rather than May.

That means residents who want to engage in the budget process should expect to see opportunities for consultations late this year rather than early next.

Every year, cities must pass 5-year financial plans by May 15, and Burnaby typically has waited until May to finalize its plan. This year, for instance, council gave final approval to the 2021-25 plan in the May 10 council meeting.

According to a staff report that’s because the city has usually taken a multi-stage approach to its financial plan. That includes preparing detailed operating estimates for each department and capital expenditures and ultimately developing a provisional budget in February before the official plan is finalized in May.

The new process will see the provisional plan eliminated, with only a financial plan produced for adoption early in the year, which staff said would "allow the city to adhere to best practices followed by other local governments in the region, saving resources and accelerating the delivery of the financial plan."

Currently, public consultations have come in March, after the delivery of the provisional plan, but the new process would see those consultations moved to November.

Staff said the new process would see steps taken "to improve the clarity of the financial information" through summaries of operating and capital costs that would drive any changes in the property tax rates.

It’s not clear how those changes would take form—or whether the changes would alter how much information is available to the public in the budget.

Staff summarized the budget timeline as follows:

August-September: Compilation of 2022-26 departmental operating budgets and capital plan.
October: Council review of the consolidated draft budget.
November: 2022-26 financial plan available for public viewing and comment.
December: City approval of 2022 utility rates.
February: Council adopts 2022-26 financial plan.

Council received that report from staff without comment at a recent meeting.

—By Dustin Godfrey

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Heat waves like the one we're going through right now could become more common unless we bring greenhouse gas emissions down, says a UBC climate expert. 📷 Shutterstock
Heat waves will become more frequent in the future—but they pose a health risk now
Climate experts say heat waves can have adverse health effects in regions not used to extreme temperatures, like BC

Expect heat waves like the one BC has been experiencing this past weekend to become more and more common in the future—that’s the advice from a UBC climate expert.

Dr Simon Donner, professor in the department of geography, climate scientists have been warning about temperatures like the ones we’ve been seeing for years now.

"These heat waves are going to become more common in the years to come. The planet is going to continue warming until we stop emitting greenhouse gases. And so there's no new normal. It's going to keep warming until we stop emitting greenhouse gas," Donner told the Beacon.

Lytton, BC shattered the all-time record for highest temperature recorded in Canada Sunday, when thermometers showed an unbelievable 46.6 degrees. Burnaby saw readings of 38 degrees the same day. At those temperatures, heat waves become about more than discomfort.

Donner said heat waves present immediate health concerns for people and the environment in regions that are not used to those temperatures.

"Our cities, our forests, our marine life are just not accustomed to this type of heat," he said.

"Everything from people not having adequate cooling in their homes, which is certainly true here in Vancouver, to how we design where we live, how close we live to forests, and now the threats of forest fires are so much higher. We set up the way we live in Canada for the Canada that used to be."

Cities across BC, including Burnaby, set up emergency cooling shelters over the weekend for unhoused people to get some respite from the sun during the heat warning.

Environment Canada, warned British Columbians to watch for symptoms of heat illness during the "dangerous long-duration heat wave" expected to last until at least Wednesday, especially in children and older adults, and to check on older friends and neighbours.

And, like other public health crises, including COVID and the toxic drug crisis, Donner said climate change is more likely to affect marginalized populations and lower-income groups.

That’s particularly evident in labour industries, he said.

"So how hard it is to work outside in hot conditions, and the threat for people working in agriculture, in construction, etc., which includes a lot of people in marginalised communities. Like agricultural workers on a worker change programme from another country. And they’re working in really tough conditions."

Dr Farah Shroff, who’s an associate member at the UBC School of Population and Public Health and a fellow at UBC and Harvard, agreed that people working outside are more at risk—and also likely to be from racialized groups.

"Indigenous communities and immigrants of colour are at greater risk of being put into sectors which are at higher risk. And in a heat wave, that means that they could be working outdoors or indoors without adequate protection," she told the Beacon.

Shroff said there are also big concerns for people who are unhoused, precariously housed, or for people who live in housing without adequate ventilation or cooling systems, pointing that those people may not have access to fans, air conditioning, or even openable windows.

She said people who use drugs may also experience adverse effects from the heat.

"Anybody who is using alone outdoors, which is really common in the cities of this province, is absolutely at much greater risk of over-perspiring and having a change in their body that could actually lead to death," Shroff said.

"There are … deaths that happen every time there's a heat wave, we've seen it over and over again. Those deaths are entirely preventable if people are able to just get hydrated and get cool," she said.

Shroff’s advice to Burnaby residents is to look out for ourselves and each other—and if we see someone potentially suffering from possible heat stroke, to get them medical attention.

Donner, meanwhile, said the hotter it is, the more likely that air quality will be bad as well, thanks to increased risk of wildfires.

You’ll remember the smog that settled over the Lower Mainland last year, blown up from wildfires in Washington and Oregon—but concerns over respiratory distress during hot weather shouldn’t be limited to wildfires.

A 2012 study that looked at shifts in mortality rates during heat waves in Vancouver between 2001 and 2009 also found that at-home deaths increased during the hottest months of summer, especially for people aged 65-74, and recommended that in-home protective measures should be part of hot weather planning events for the region.

"The proportion of deaths resulting from respiratory causes was also higher during the hot weather event than during the 2009 and the 2001 through 2008 comparison periods," reads the study.

Scientists are also seeing other, secondary health concerns from climate change becoming more prevalent as the planet gets warmer.

"As we're warming, you're seeing the spread of diseases and pests in Canada. Lyme disease moving further into BC is about the ticks being able to survive the winter," Donner said.

"It's still pretty rare, but it's a threat that didn't used to exist, and that's happening because it's warming."

Donner said the solution is clear if we want to stop these issues in their tracks: reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

"And that means making decisions now about the types of homes we build, about the types of vehicles we buy, about how our electricity is generated," he said.

BC Hydro said Friday that it expects to break the all-time record for summer electricity demand as British Columbians try to cool down their houses and condos.

It said people living in tall glass towers would be at a particular disadvantage, making them more likely to run inefficient and often expensive air conditioning units—and suggested people stick to fans instead for a lower bill at the end of the month.

But while individual consumers can and should do their part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through choices on issues like how we heat and cool our homes, what kinds of foods we eat, and how much we drive, Donner said governments themselves need to invest in and legislate climate action.

"We need the government to put the incentives in place and make it easy for the rest of us to make these decisions. So to incentivize shifting towards electric vehicles, and changing the infrastructure, which means buildings, electricity, grid, etc., so that it's possible to live a low-carbon life," he said.

"Number 1 is: the Senate needs to pass Bill C-12, which is going to help legislate emissions reductions, … but the really big thing is we need to start planning now. Because we need to get to net-zero emissions by the middle of the century."

—By Srushti Gangdev


Cooling centres open in Burnaby during heat warning: The City of Burnaby is running cooling centres for vulnerable people, unhoused people, and anyone seeking refuge from the heat while there's still an extreme heat warning in effect. The cooling centres are open 10am-7pm at Edmonds Community Centre, McGill Library, and the Metrotown Library. There will be water and washroom facilities available. Alternately, you can drop in to any of the city's libraries if you need some respite from the heat, but be aware that there are still COVID-related capacity limits in effect. Carol-Ann Flanagan, a service provider who this week told Burnaby Beacon she had the supplies for a cooling centre but nowhere to put it, said she was "absolutely thrilled" about the city's announcement.

☀️Burnaby schools closed due to extreme heat:  The Burnaby School District announced on Sunday that all schools will be closed on Monday "out of an abundance of caution" due to the extreme temperatures. SFU also announced that all in-person and remote classes are cancelled on Monday. Mid-term exams on June 28 in-person/ remote will be rescheduled. All events on the Burnaby campus are cancelled and staff are encouraged to work from home.

⛴️ More BC Ferries terminals to get wifi
: The province said in a press release it's bringing wifi access to 14 smaller terminals including Vesuvius Bay, Bella Bella, and Lyall Harbour. Cell service is often not available once you're on the water on smaller routes. Internet access is expected to be up and running at those terminals by October 31—but no luck if you were hoping for an announcement on improvements to wifi on the ferries themselves.

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  • 72 new cases. Total 147,418
  • 2 new deaths. Total 1,749
  • 1,096 active cases (-15). 108 people in hospital (-5), 37 in ICU (-3)
  • 7-day rolling average of new cases is down to 74.
  • 77.6% of people 18+/26.9% of people 12+ have received their 1st vaccine dose.
  • 26.9% of people 18+/25.2% of people 12+ have received their 2nd dose.
  • 29 new cases in Fraser Health (40% of BC).

  • Federal government releases guidance for vaccinated Canadians: Have you been wondering what you can and can't do once you get your 1st shot, or your 2nd, to stay safe from COVID? Canada has released its guidance in an infographic here. It all depends on what the situation or setting is, and whether you're partially or fully vaccinated. Even if you're double-dosed, there may be times in crowded situations where it's safer to wear a mask.
  • PHAC warns that fall could bring COVID resurgence: Canada's chief public health officer Dr Theresa Tam said Friday if the Delta variant becomes dominant in Canada, the country could see a larger than expected resurgence of COVID in the fall. Tam said a spike could be kept under control if vaccination rates surpass 80% for both 1st and 2nd doses. That's an increase to the previous minimum target of 75%.
🎨 Visit the Deer Lake Art Gallery this week - The gallery's current exhibition tântê ê-wî-itohtêyahk? explores artworks that "chart pathways forward." Featured artists include Afuwa, jaz whitford, Zoe Cire, and Melody Markle. Find more here. Please note, the galley is closed on Mondays.

⛱  Metropolis at Metrotown has a NEW patio area - Grab some food and enjoy it al fresco at the mall's socially distanced patio located near the Kingsway entrance near Coast Captial Savings. More info here.

💪 MORE Burnaby stairs - A few weeks ago, we asked our readers for stairs to climb for a good outdoor workout in the city. Many recommended the Velodrome Stairs and now we have another recommendation! Try out the stairs at Byrne Creek Ravine Park but please wait until the weather cools down as these temperatures are unsafe for rigorous outdoor activity. Find out more.

Sunshine at Fraser Foreshore Park. 📷 @filmanthologies/ Instagram
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