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City of Edmonton to lift extreme cold weather response Monday

The City of Edmonton says warmer temperatures in the forecast will allow it to deactivate its extreme weather response starting Monday at 8 a.m.

The city said it was sharing the news Saturday to give people enough time to adjust their plans for accessing shelters. Anyone concerned about someone out in the cold is asked to call 911 if the person is in serious distress, or 211 for the non-emergency Crisis Diversion line which provides support for shelter, intoxication and mental health.

The city said it will continue to operate the Winter Shelter Shuttle Service nightly on the north and south routes to help vulnerable Edmontonians. The shuttle runs daily from 11 p.m. to 5:30 a.m., regardless of weather conditions, until March 31 but the overnight Winter Shelter Shuttle Service (west route) used during extreme weather activations will be suspended on Monday.

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The City of Edmonton opened several facilities including recreation centres and libraries during regular hours of operation for anyone needing to get out of the cold. LRT stations were not part of the extreme weather response this year, this city said.

The city said transit spaces were acknowledged in the 2019 City Policy C620 (supporting vulnerable people during extreme weather) to not be a suitable substitute for proper shelter space since they lack basic amenities such as washrooms, are often inadequately heated and did not allow those using the space to safely connect with important social supports.

The city was instead encouraging those experiencing homelessness to go to shelters to get out of the cold and find protection from frostbite, injury and potential loss of life due to fire risk in encampments.

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