Cooler places in a warmer climate

The project aims to create cool refuges in local community halls and increase the resilience of these facilities during power outages.


Project Summary/background

Extreme heat events, including heatwaves, are estimated to cause more deaths in Australia than all other natural hazards combined and are predicted to increase with the changing climate. Communities of the Bega Valley rural villages of Bemboka, Quaama and Wyndham are identified as vulnerable to extreme heat events due to the age of residents, distance to health providers, and design of community infrastructure.

Council has been awarded a grant through the NSW Government's ‘Increasing Resilience to Climate Change’ (IRCC) program to develop solutions to addressing these growing risks.

This project contributes towards adaptation actions identified in Council's Climate Resilience Strategy.


  • Create a cool refuge for communities of Bemboka, Quaama and Wyndham.
  • Increase the resilience of these halls by making them independent from the grid in times of power outage.
  • Engage local communities to help design cool refuges in these halls and increase community awareness about the health risks during heat wave events

Next steps

A number of key operational issues were identified in the development and implementation of the Cooler Places project, particularly around responsibilities, resourcing and how these centres might fit into broader health and emergency service frameworks.

Bega Valley Shire Council continues to explore suitable solutions to these issues and is seeking grant opportunities to fund the next step in the project, which is to document operational procedures.

Other Councils, such as Blacktown City Council, have developed helpful material that will help inform and develop future procedures and operations of these centres.

Connection to Council's Community Strategic Plan

This project is connected to Council's Community Strategic Plan through:

Outcome 3 - Sustainable Living

  • Goal 6: by 2040... we are leaders in sustainable living and support innovative approaches to resource recovery and the production of alternative energy and food
    • Strategy 14: Support collaborative community-based sustainability initiatives, the regional food economy and programs and policies which address the causes and impacts of climate change, in particular those relating to renewable energy.

Outcome 4 - Liveable Places

  • Goal 7: by 2040... our Shire continues to be an enjoyable, safe and affordable place to live.
    • Strategy 15: Provide proactive programs and support organisations and services that respond to the safety needs of our community.
  • Goal 8: by 2040... our towns and villages are well presented and provide a range of goods and services that meet local needs
    • Strategy 18: Provide infrastructure and services to meet the ranging needs of residents in our towns, villages and rural areas.


  • $110 000 from the IRCC
  • $35 000 Council contribution

Who to speak to:

Environment and Sustainability Team
Bega Valley Shire Council
Phone: (02) 6499 2222

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