The Village of Lytton is another step closer to rebuilding after the devastating wildfire that evacuated thousands of British Columbians, killed two, and destroyed 90 percent of the community as it spread throughout one of the hottest summers ever recorded.
The provincial government recently announced new funding, totalling $21 million, and said the money will support the Village of Lytton’s recovery plan and further rebuilding efforts in the community. While earlier funding has focused on debris cleanup and emergency response, this new batch of provincial funding will aid in restoring services and vital infrastructure.
“Earlier this year, provincial funding helped the Village of Lytton undertake debris removal and remediation work on all properties to restore the ground so residents could look ahead to rebuilding,” said Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.
Previously, the provincial government awarded the Village of Lytton $9.3 million to support early recovery efforts and ongoing village operations. An additional $18.4 million was provided to assist in archeological work, such as debris removal and soil remediation, for all properties in the village.
The new funding brings residents a step closer to returning home by establishing key municipal services, such as the rebuilding of the Village office, maintaining adequate staffing levels during the rebuilding process, and restoring fire protection. The province hopes this will enable residents to begin their own rebuilding efforts in the near future. Assessments for the repair of city infrastructure, such as sewer and water services, will also take place.
“Now, additional funding will help the Village take necessary next steps to assist people starting to safely return to the area and know that they are supported with essential services. That includes taking steps to help build back water infrastructure in a way that addresses the historical challenges that this system faced prior to the fire,” added Rice.
In addition to their work with the Village of Lytton, the Province of B.C. said it has supported and worked in partnership with the nearby Lytton First Nation to ensure its members are equipped with the resources needed to recover and rebuild. While it has now been a year since the devastating wildfire that tore through the Village and beyond, the economic and emotional effects will be felt for years to come.
Merrittonians no doubt remember the Lytton Creek fire and its terrifying path of destruction, travelling hundreds of kilometres and spreading tens of thousands of hectares before the flames finally subsided. In August of 2021, the fire threatened structures in Lower Nicola, forcing the entire community to evacuate, and placing the City of Merritt on evacuation alert.
“Over the past year, Lytton residents have shown tremendous strength as the community has come together to recover from what was lost,” said Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
“With new funding to help get essential services and infrastructure back up and running, the Village of Lytton is taking another step forward on this challenging journey of rebuilding. The Province has supported that journey, and we’re going to keep working together to rebuild Lytton.”
Moving forward, the Village of Lytton and area stakeholders will move forward with official rebuilding plans. The site of the village is expected to be ready for the next phases of its rebuild, such as planning and permitting, in the fall.