Municipalities in Western Sydney set up heat shelters for residents

“These are mainly intended for people who cannot keep cool at home and who may not easily be able to go to a shopping center, library or swimming pool,” said a spokeswoman for the municipality.

Following the success of the trial, WSROC plans to expand this program across western Sydney.

The Sweltering Cities summer survey found that 47 percent of renters and 14 percent of homeowners would leave their homes to move to a cooler location.

Sweltering Cities founder Emma Bacon said heat shelters are an important safety measure for people living in warm homes as temperatures rise.

“But by scheduling people to go to heat shelters, we recognize that their homes are not safe and staying at home can be fatal 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 improve things now, starting with public and affordable housing?”

Homes in western Sydney require twice as much energy to cool as in the eastern suburbs, lasting seven times more days than 35 degrees. Western Sydney also has half the foliage of the eastern suburbs and receives up to 50 percent less rain.

Aerial view of Redbank Estate, North Richmond

Aerial view of Redbank Estate, North RichmondCredit:Adam Hollingworth

The Cooling Western Sydney study found that heat-related deaths were up to three times higher in Penrith than in Sydney during heat wave periods.

Blacktown Mayor Tony Bleasdale said the area is particularly vulnerable to urban heat due to its location and distances from sea breezes, with temperatures up to 10 degrees higher than along the Sydney coast.

“I am particularly concerned about vulnerable residents, such as the elderly, those with disabilities or with pre-existing medical conditions, as they are particularly at risk from the effects of extreme heat,” he said.

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Blacktown’s new suburbs were “particularly vulnerable to urban heat” as a result of vegetation clearing and development, a city spokeswoman said, while suburbs such as Marsden Park, Riverstone and Vineyard will experience severe weather over time. pronounced temperature rises.

“Without urgent action on climate change, the impact of increasing urban heat on our community could be catastrophic,” Bleasdale said.

Calvert said western Sydney councils had tried to improve urban planning with more trees, cool materials and shade, “but more than half of development in western Sydney bypasses the council’s planning controls”.

“Trees will not keep communities safe in heat wave conditions,” he said. “When it’s 50 degrees and the power goes out, we need emergency planning to help the most vulnerable.”

Calvert said councils in western Sydney were “extremely disappointed” by the dumping of draft planning rules for greener and more sustainable development by Planning Minister Anthony Roberts.

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A spokesman for the Planning Department said the state government wanted to improve building standards to reduce the need for artificial heating and cooling.

Guidelines were also issued requiring municipalities and government agencies to consider the impact of natural hazards, including heat waves, in planning decisions.

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