Councillor calls for changes to cold weather alert system

Kristyn Wong-Tam wants an Extreme Cold Weather alert to be called sooner

A Toronto councillor is calling for changes to be made to the city's extreme cold weather alert system.

As it stands right now, an alert is called when temperatures reach minus 15. It triggers extra services for people who are homeless, including opening up more beds to get them inside. 

On Friday night, an alert was not called because it was only minus 14, even though the winds made it feel much colder. That meant that Metro Hall was closed as a warming centre and those inside were forced into the cold.

Councillor Kristyn Wong-Tam says the rules need to be altered.

"I've been saying for some time that the minus 15 is simply too cold, we need to call it much sooner," she tells CTV. "Especially if there is windchill... we need to factor that in."

Councillor Adam Vaughan agrees. 

"It's easy to see things bureaucratically and just go by the numbers," he says. "The winds [on Friday night] alone should have justified keeping [Metrol Hall] open."

Vaughan says the winds were predictable and should have been taking into account. 

"I think we put people in harm's way," he says. 

Council will be asked whether the protocol should be more flexible and whether the windchill should be a factor in calling an alert. 

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