A couple of Indigenous elders were steamed that they had to head to Hope Monday to rent a motel room to escape the unrelenting heat.
Francis and Josephine Charlie said they tried calling hotels in Chilliwack for a reservation on Sunday but were told there were was nothing available for Chilliwack residents.
Living in a third-floor apartment meant the couple was facing another day of extreme heat with trepidation. They‘d been trying to manage during this prolonged heat wave with three fans going, and a portable air conditioning unit a family member gave them.
But it was still too hot. The prolonged heat wave is extremely dangerous for seniors, and anyone with health conditions. They spent most of Sunday driving around in the truck with the A/C blasting trying not to suffer heat-related illness.
“Our thoughts on this were, this is not working,” Francis Charlie said. “We are elders.”
So they came up with what they thought was foolproof plan: rent a hotel room and cool off.
But when Josephine Charlie called to reserve at the Comfort Inn she said she was was told the rooms were “only for essential workers” at the moment, and not Chilliwack residents. There were no rooms available to them at the Coast either.
Allanna who works at the front desk of the Comfort Inn told The Progress the hotel was completely booked until the end of the week. Although they were previously restricting rooms to essential workers like nurses and rail employees, she said, with the heat wave this weekend they opened up some rooms, which sold out right away.
Allison Colthorp, executive director of Chilliwack Tourism, said call the situation “unfortunate.”
“I have consulted with all the hotels and we are absolutely full,” Colthorp said.
Many who rented rooms this weekend at either the Coast Hotel by APA or the Comfort Inn were Chilliwack residents, she said.
“Unfortunately for those looking, they may have to go outside our community to find hotel rooms.”
If there was any occupancy left locally, it was because of staff shortages, and local hotels were unable to fill those rooms and get them cleaned in time, she said.
“Plus it’s our busy season. With COVID-19 restrictions being lifted, and Chilliwack with all our great outdoor experiences, we’re happy to see that we’re rebounding well,” Colthorp said.
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