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Penticton opens SOEC, additional resources to help residents escape the heat

Record-breaking heatwave has city concerned for seniors and those not able to get out of the heat
The South Okanagan Events Centre will be open as a cooling centre from June 28 to July 2, 2021 as the city experiences a record-breaking heatwave. (Jesse Day - Western News)

The City of Penticton is expanding the resources available to help residents and visitors escape the heat wave by opening the South Okanagan Events Centre (SOEC) as a cooling centre.

The SOEC cooling centre will be open every day until July 2 from 7 a.m. and 8 p.m to provide a safe place for residents and visitors to get relief from the extreme heat.

Pets are allowed in the building as long as they are leashed and under control and masks are required.

The SOEC is one of many other civic facilities in Penticton where people can escape the heat. City hall, the public library, museum and the Penticton seniors’ drop-in centre are all open to people needing temporary relief from the heat.

The city is arranging for water to be provided at these locations and bylaw services officers are also watching out and carrying water for people in need, said emergency operations centre acting director Anthony Haddad.

The city is also initiating a call centre today for residents who may have questions about available resources.

Residents can call 250-490-2345 to enquire about places to stay cool, accessing water, preparing for the heat or caring for pets.

Information about all of the city’s available resources can be found in an online toolkit at or by contacting the call centre.

Mayor John Vassilaki encouraged residents to use a ‘buddy system’ to check in on the well-being of others during the heatwave.

“I can’t emphasize enough the importance for us to look out for each other during this heat wave. We are especially concerned about our seniors and our citizens who are not able to escape the heat as they may not have air conditioning or suitable shelter,” said Vassilaki.

The additional services are expected to be available through to the end of day on July 2, 2021, when temperatures are expected to return closer to normal.

The SOEC cooling centre and library foyer will be open on Canada Day from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.

“Additional resources will be considered on an as-needed basis,” the city said in a news release.

If a person appears to be in distress, take them out of the heat, provide them with water and seek emergency medical treatment.

READ MORE: ‘It’s appalling’: RCMP investigating dog in crate behind RV spotted in South Okanagan

READ MORE: WorkSafeBC urges employers to close down if they can’t keep workers cool amid heat wave

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Jesse Day

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