The City of Burnaby will open its overnight emergency warming centre at 7320 Buller Ave. on Saturday, Jan. 28 for vulnerable people to take shelter from the cold weather.
With a cold snap of Arctic air coming to Burnaby Friday night, the warming centre will operate from 8:30 p.m. to 8 a.m. until further notice. Updates can be found on the city's website.
December shelter closure drew criticism
Last month on Dec. 23, Burnaby closed its emergency warming centre with freezing rain in the forecast.
The closure disappointed some community members: one Burnaby resident wrote the NOW that the decision was "disturbing" and "a poor decision."
The city said there are a number of factors which influence the decision to open the emergency warming centre, including weather patterns and expected temperatures.
"After a number of days with low attendance, and warming temperatures in the forecast for Burnaby, the City made the decision to close the EWC on Dec. 23," Burnaby's public affairs officer Cole Wagner told the NOW in an emailed statement.
He provided a list of attendance numbers for the Buller shelter in December:
- Dec 1: 0 patrons
- Dec 2: 3 patrons
- Dec 18: 14 patrons
- Dec 19: 1 patron
- Dec 20: 3 patrons
- Dec 21: 3 patrons
- Dec 22: 3 patrons
The city-provided shelter was moved from its previous space at Bonsor Recreation Complex (6550 Bonsor Ave.) to Buller Avenue, further from the Metrotown centre, as the Buller location "provides the necessary space and amenities to operate as an emergency warming centre, and is located a short walk from the Royal Oak SkyTrain station," according to Wagner.
Emergency weather shelters in Burnaby
- Douglas Shelter at 2294 Douglas Rd. (Progressive Housing)
- The Neighbourhood Church at 7135 Walker Ave., open the 1st to 15th of the month (Lookout Housing)
- Westminster Bible Chapel at 7540 Sixth St., open the 16th to end of the month (Lookout Housing)
- Emergency warming shelter at 7320 Buller Ave., activated at specific times, see the city's website for updates (City of Burnaby)