City crews are enclosing the picnic shelter at Boitanio Park Monday, Feb. 8, to provide a daytime heated shelter for vulnerable people. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

City crews are enclosing the picnic shelter at Boitanio Park Monday, Feb. 8, to provide a daytime heated shelter for vulnerable people. (Monica Lamb-Yorski photo - Williams Lake Tribune)

Williams Lake picnic shelter to be tarped, heated for daytime warming area during cold snap

‘We anticipate it will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. for two weeks,’: said city CAO

A daytime warming area for vulnerable people who find themselves outside in extremely cold conditions in Williams Lake is being offered for the second year in a row.

City crews were at the Boitanio Park picnic shelter installing tarps in the afternoon of Monday, Feb. 8. and the city’s chief administrative officer Gary Muraca said heaters will be brought in as well.

“We have been discussing with our community partners and provincial agencies about the need for a warming area,” Muraca told the Tribune.

“We anticipate that it will be operational from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day for a two-week period.”

Muraca said everyone recognizes the temporary daytime shelter is not the solution to homelessness in the Williams Lake area, but supplements the ‘great work’ of local groups that tirelessly dedicate themselves to advocate for the homeless.

After-hour options are being discussed and that information will be provided when available, he added.

Rosanna McGregor, executive director of the Cariboo Friendship Society, confirmed Monday the society’s shelter on Third Avenue South and the expanded shelter at the Longhouse above the Stampede Grounds have people staying in them at night.

Read more: Extreme cold weather warning issued for the Chilcotin

Last spring the city set up a shelter at the same spot in Boitanio Park due to cold weather and COVID-19 precautions forcing other facilities to close.

Read more: ‘It’s the humane thing to do’; Muraca on providing a warm shelter for Williams Lake homeless

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