B.C. heatwave: Dealing with a high temperatures and crowds amid a pandemic
VANCOUVER -- Metro Vancouver is sweltering through its first heatwave of the summer and local officials are finding ways to still discourage crowds at parks and beaches.
Environment Canada has issued several special weather statements across the southern part of the province, with temperatures expected to reach 25 C in Metro Vancouver, but 30 C with the humidex.
Other parts of the province, like the Okanagan, are under heat warnings, with temperatures forecast to reach 35 and continue to stay high through Thursday.
With these high summer temperatures, local officials say they're trying to curb crowds at popular outdoor spots.
White Pine Beach in Port Moody is one concerning spot, and Metro Vancouver Commissioner Jerry Dobrovolny says parking has been reduced by 50 per cent to reduce crowd numbers. But the smaller size meant the lot was already full and closed by 9 a.m. Sunday morning.
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There have also been other issues too, Dobrovolny told CTV News.
"There's drinking and some rowdy behaviour. We're seen some fights in the area as tempers flare," Dobrovolny said.
"We understand that people were cooped up for a long time, we understand there are a lot of restrictions but sort of ask people put it all in perspective, don't let frustrations boil over."
Port Moody police confirmed there have been several incidents recently including physical assaults, assaults with bear spray, traffic safety issues and illegal liquor consumption.
While some suspects were taken into custody, police say "the victims in the matters were not co-operative" so charges weren't laid.
"The Port Moody police urge people who attend the park to be careful and aware of the inherent risks in walking on the roadway and the health concerns associated in attending areas where appropriate physical distancing is not feasible," police said in a statement.
Despite the efforts to discourage drivers from accessing the area, there were still large crowds at the beach on Sunday. Wendy Gdela was there with her family and says she tried to set up in a more secluded area.
"We made sure we picked a good spot where people couldn’t really congregate around us," Gdela said. "I think they should be doing more because it’s too crowded."
Another hot spot is Centennial Beach in Delta. Parking restrictions were put in place so only local residents can park in nearby areas and a free shuttle runs from the South Delta Recreation Centre.
While the high temperatures will linger for a few days in some parts of B.C., meteorologist for Environment Canada, Alyssa Charbonneau, says Metro Vancouver will see two days of heat.
"We really haven't seen a hot stretch like this so far this year, it certainly feels like it took a little while for the summer to get going," she said.
The weather agency says a ridge of high pressure is building over southern B.C. that will push temperatures up. The hottest periods are expected between 1 p.m. and 5 p.m.
"We're going to see a shift on Tuesday to a little bit cooler marine air that’s going to move over us," Charbonneau said.
"Avoid strenuous activity during the hottest time of the day, sort of during 1 p.m. until 5, staying hydrated, of course being sun smart."
The heat has also prompted a reminder that leaving children or animals alone in a parked car can be extremely dangerous – and potentially deadly.
While at home, Environment Canada recommends keeping windows open with shades or blinds closed, using an air conditioner and preparing meals that don't require an oven.