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Too smoky? Coquitlam has opened clean air spaces

Coquitlam's air handling equipment has been upgraded to filter out fine particulate matter from wildfire smoke.
Smoke from B.C. wildfires turns skies hazy in Metro Vancouver in August 2023.

Coquitlam residents who need to take a break from smoky air now have a place to go.

The city has opened several clean-air spaces to provide short-term relief to individuals at risk and those suffering from the current air quality conditions.

Opening these spaces comes as Metro Vancouver has issued an air quality advisory due to concentrations of fine particulate matter due to B.C. wildfires.

What's a cleaner air space?

Cleaner air spaces are publicly accessible indoor spaces with upgrades to air handling systems to provide improved interior air quality, and offer short-term relief during times of increased air quality risk due to wildfire smoke. 

Coquitlam's cleaner air spaces have charcoal filters to augment existing air filtration, updated mechanical systems that provide the option of recirculating interior air, and air curtains to help better seal facility entrances. 

The sites are not intended for overnight or extended stays, but the city may extend hours of operation and provide additional facilities depending on the duration and severity of the air quality risk.

Air handling upgraded 

The air handling systems in the following civic facilities have been upgraded to provide improved interior air quality when the outside air quality is poor, as it is now:

  • City Centre Aquatic Complex (1209 Pinetree Way)
    • Sunday, 7 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.; Monday to Saturday, 5:30 a.m. to 10:30 pm
  • Dogwood Pavilion (1655 Winslow Ave.)
    • Sunday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.; Monday and Wednesday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.; Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 
  • Glen Pine Pavilion (1200 Glen Pine Court)
    • Sunday, Closed; Monday, Wednesday and Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.; Tuesday and Thursday, 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
  • Poirier Sport and Leisure Complex (630 Poirier St.)
    • Every day, 6 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Information about real-time air quality readings for Metro Vancouver and Fraser Valley communities, including Coquitlam, can be found on Metro Vancouver's website, as well as the provincial government's BC Air Quality page.

Check in on loved ones

Coquitlam residents are encouraged to check in on neighbours, family and friends who may be more vulnerable to wildfire smoke and poor air quality, such as individuals with respiratory or cardiovascular health conditions, as well as people who are pregnant, infants, young children and older adults.

Ensure they are aware of Coquitlam's cleaner air spaces and other indoor public spaces that may offer relief from poor air quality.

If you note symptoms such as chest discomfort, shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing, seek prompt medical attention. Call 9-1-1 in the case of an emergency.

Coquitlam will also be posting updates to the cleaner air space page of its website and across the city's social media channels.

Protect your health

Everyone can also take these steps to reduce their exposure to poor air quality, including:

  • Keeping windows and doors closed at home
  • Keeping vehicle windows closed and setting air conditions to recirculate
  • Spending less time outside, and limiting outdoor physical activity;
  • Staying cool and drinking plenty of fluids
  • Buying a high-efficiency particulate air filtration system
  • Stocking up on medications for respiratory conditions such as asthma