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Lytton's record heat concerns B.C. village mayor

Last Updated Jun 30, 2021 at 11:55 am PDT

The small town of Lytton, B.C. in the Fraser Canyon region. (Image Credit: Chad Harris / CityNews)
Summary

Lytton mayor would rather his community be known as Canada's hot spot for quality of life than as a literal hot spot

Lytton broke record for hottest temperature ever recorded in Canada for third day in a row

Mayor worries about older, vulnerable locals amid record heatwave in B.C.

LYTTON (NEWS 1130) – The mayor of Lytton, B.C. says he’d rather his community be known as Canada’s hot spot for quality of life, rather than for being the country’s literal hot spot.

The Fraser Canyor village broke the record for the hottest temperature ever recorded in this country for the third day in a row on Tuesday, when the mercury rose to 49.5 C.

“Lytton every summer has a few days of 41, 42, 43 degrees. This heatwave is extremely early, and it’s concerning that old records are being broken by six degrees Celsius,” said Mayor Jan Polderman.

He says conditions are unbearable, noting everyone is looking for shade when they head outside.

“I think the concern is that just, generally, higher temperatures higher temperatures every summer going forward with climate change, we can see the stress on the trees and on the bushes. The leaves are starting to curl, the leaves are being scalded by the sun, the trees are drooping in the heat of the day. That’s not good,” he told NEWS 1130.


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To make matters worse, Polderman adds there are two wildfires burning near Lytton, impacting the air quality. He’s reminding the community and people in the surrounding area to be extra cautious outdoor, especially with such dry conditions.

When it comes to being known nationally — and even internationally — as the place that saw the hottest temperature on record in Canada, Polderman says it’s not an honour.

“I’d rather be known as Canada’s hot spot for education, health care, quality of life than for having the hottest temperatures,” the mayor explained, adding there are concerns about older and more vulnerable people amid the heat.

The heatwave across B.C. and the Pacific Northwest that lasted into this week shattered records across the province.

More than 100 deaths in just four days have been blamed on the heat in the Metro Vancouver area.

“As far as I know, we haven’t had any heat-related fatalities. What I do know is that our health site is having increased volumes. People here, since we’re a relatively small community, neighbours are looking after neighbours,” explained Polderman.

Related videos: B.C. Heatwave hits peak temperatures

While conditions have eased slightly closer to the coast, inland communities continue to deal with extreme temperatures.

“The town has also set up a cooling centre, First Nations partners are also setting up cooling centres,” the mayor said, adding locals are spending much of their time trying to find cooler spots to spend their days, mostly inside.

“The one good thing is the heat in Lytton, there’s a drier heat than there is on the coast. So I think that it’s easier to cool down than it is in Vancouver,” Polderman added.

Despite that, he and others are welcoming the return of more manageable temperatures.

“I’d prefer to see it at 26, 27 degrees here,” he said, laughing. “For me, that’s an ideal temperature.”