Statement of the Hamilton 350 Committee, endorsed by ACORN Hamilton, Environment Hamilton, the Hamilton and District Labour Council and the Hamilton Council of Canadians
The extreme temperatures Hamilton has already endured and may face again this summer demand immediate relief action for those in our community who lack access to air conditioning. We know that extreme heat can severely damage health and even have fatal consequences.
Fortunately, the city has large mobile air-conditioned units better known as buses. The Hamilton 350 Committee, ACORN and Environment Hamilton propose they be used to provide emergency heat relief.
Specifically, on days when the city declares a heat emergency, we propose that the city supplement its cooling centres by making HSR and DARTS fare optional.
Buses are already available across the entire urban area that is most affected by extreme heat events, and are available for at least 18 hours a day, much longer than other cooling centres.
This temporary relief program would allow residents to minimize their heat exposure when getting to where they need to go, or just to obtain temporary relief from the heat. We would expect that the financial cost of this program would be minimal by encouraging regular transit users to continue to pay fares, and hopefully that the number of heat emergency days are limited.