Hot, summer temperatures have finally arrived in central Alberta.
Environment Canada has issued a heat warning for the region, cautioning the public about the elevated risk of heat stroke or heat exhaustion.
Temperatures were forecast to reach 29 C Monday, and high temperatures are expected to continue throughout the week. The forecast for Tuesday is 31 C, and from Wednesday to Sunday, the temperature is expected to be in the 26 to 27 range.
Amanda Wilson took one-and-a-half-year-old Adella to the Central Spray & Play soon after it opened Monday morning in Rotary Recreation Park. About 30 children were already having some soggy fun.
“It will be a lot more busier this afternoon. That’s why we wanted to come in the morning, before it got crazy, crazy busy,” Wilson said.
“Adella loves the water. We have a splash pool in our backyard. She loves all the splashing. She absolutely loves it.”
Recreation superintendent Barb McKee said the water park is unique with its recirculating, filtered, disinfecting water system.
“It was designed as an environmental feature. Water that’s churning through is disinfected and no different than a pool, and we know that the chemical balance of your typical pool deals with COVID very effectively,” McKee said.
The city is not controlling access to the spray park or the smaller spray area at Kin Kanyon.
“They’re in an open public space, no different than a playground in Red Deer. We keep an eye on them and community policing services is also visiting the site from time to time to reinforce the message of public responsibility,” said McKee.
She said the play area is located in a big green space, and the spray pad is also large, so people have the ability to social distance easily.
Both spray parks have already been open for a couple of weeks and are operating successfully, she said.
“We have mass gathering limits of 100 and we’ve found the public to be extremely respectful of that and maintaining social distancing while they’re at the parks. That’s really encouraging,” McKee said.
Red Deer Emergency Services will also help cool off residents by spraying water from a ladder truck at Oriole Park Community Centre on Thursday from 6:30 to 8 p.m.
The ladder truck will be at Riverside Meadow Community Centre on Aug. 6; Eastview Community Centre on Aug. 13; Joseph Welsh Elementary School on Aug. 20; and Rosedale Community Centre on Aug. 27.
Events will run weather permitting.
Another option is to take a break from the outdoor heat at Collicutt Centre, G.H. Dawe Community Centre and Michener Recreation Centre. Activity reservations are required and can be made on the city website.
Discovery Canyon and the Rec Centre’s outdoor pool remain closed.
Symptoms of heat stroke or heat exhaustion include high body temperature, lack of sweat, confusion, fainting and unconsciousness.
Do not leave any person, or pet, inside a closed vehicle for any length of time.
During a heat warning, people are advised to consider rescheduling outdoor activities to cooler hours of the day; take frequent breaks from the heat; spend time in cooled indoor spaces where possible; drink plenty of water and other non-alcoholic, non-caffeinated beverages to stay hydrated; and check for children or pets before getting out of a vehicle.