“These are specifically for people who cannot stay cool at home and may not be able to easily get to a shopping centre, library or swimming pool,” a spokeswoman for the council said.
Following the success of the trial, the WSROC plans to expand this program west of Sydney.
The Sweltering Cities summer survey found that 47% of renters and 14% of homeowners would leave their homes for a cooler location.
Sweltering Cities founder Emma Bacon said heat refuge shelters are an important safety measure for people living in hot homes as temperatures rise.
“But by planning for people to go to heated shelters, we recognize that their homes are not safe and that staying home could be deadly for vulnerable people,” she said.
This should be shocking. If we know people’s homes won’t be safe, why don’t we make simple changes to make things better now, starting with public and affordable housing? »
Homes in western Sydney use twice as much energy to cool as those in the eastern suburbs and last seven times as many days over 35 degrees. Western Sydney also has half the tree cover of the eastern suburbs and receives up to 50% less rainfall.
the Western Sydney Chill A study found that heat-related deaths were up to three times higher in Penrith than in Sydney during periods of heatwaves.
Blacktown Mayor Tony Bleasdale said the area was particularly vulnerable to urban heat due to its location and distances from sea breezes, with temperatures up to 10 degrees warmer than along the Sydney coast.
“I am particularly worried about vulnerable residents, such as the elderly, those with disabilities or those with pre-existing health conditions, as they are particularly at risk from the effects of searing heat,” he said.
Blacktown’s new suburbs were ‘particularly vulnerable to urban heat’ due to land clearing and overgrowth, a council spokeswoman said, while suburbs such as Marsden Park, Riverstone and Vineyard will see increases in pronounced temperature over time.
“Without urgent action on climate change, the impact of increased urban heat on our community could be catastrophic,” Bleasdale said.
Calvert said western Sydney councils had sought to improve town planning with more trees, cool materials and shade, “but more than half of the development happening in western Sydney bypasses board planning controls”.
“Trees will not keep communities safe in heatwave conditions,” he said. “When it’s 50 degrees and there’s no power, we need a contingency plan in place to help our most vulnerable.”
Calvert said councils in western Sydney were “extremely disappointed” by the rejection of the draft planning rules for greener and more sustainable development by Planning Minister Anthony Roberts.
A planning department spokesman said the state government was looking to “tighten up” building standards to reduce the need for artificial heating and cooling.
Guidelines had also been issued requiring councils and government agencies to consider the impact of natural hazards, including heat waves, in planning decisions.