As Greater Victoria barrels towards 10 cm of snow and 90 km/h wind gusts this evening, concerns rise for those left without shelter in the region.
Thanks to an initiative by the Greater Victoria Extreme Weather Protocol, BC Housing, Our Place Society, District of Juan De Fuca, and the CRD, a new shelter has been opened in Sooke.
“In the event that we have an extreme weather alert for the GV region, the JDF Emergency Shelter will be activated tier one of the Greater Victoria Extreme Weather Response Plan and in operation at #3-7450 Butler Rd (the CRD building off Otter Point Rd),” reads a statement from the VEWP.
According to Jen Wilde, Regional Coordinator of the VEWP, the shelter can house 12 extra individuals and will be in operation from 7 p.m. – 7 a.m.
People seeking shelter should gather at the Sooke Crisis and Referral Centre at 6596 Sooke Rd for 7pm as a muster point for transport up to the shelter.
The VEWP program is activated based on several criteria, including snowfall, wind, and rainfall warnings, as well as whenever temperatures reach below 0°C.
This new extreme weather shelter is the fourth to be activated, along with those at the Our Place Society, Salvation Army, and Rock Bay Landing and taken together, the four shelters provide 92 extra beds or mats.
If these spaces fill up, Wilde says two other shelters can be opened up to provide 30 more spaces.
Up to 10 cm of snow is expected to fall over Vancouver Island this evening, accompanied by 90 km/h wind gusts according to Environment Canada.