British Columbia

Province appoints recovery liaisons to help with rebuild of fire-ravaged Lytton

The B.C. government says two parliamentary secretaries will work with the Village of Lytton to help it recover from the wildfire that destroyed much of the community.

Wildfire ripped through the B.C. community on June 30, killing 2 and causing $77M in insured damage

The aftermath of the wildfire that destroyed most of Lytton, B.C., on June 30. In the days prior to the wildfire, Lytton set all-time Canadian heat records for three days in a row. (Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press via AP)

The B.C. government says two parliamentary secretaries will work with the Village of Lytton to help it recover from the wildfire that destroyed much of the community.

Two people died in the June 30 blaze that tore through the Fraser Canyon village, causing an estimated $77 million in insured damage.

Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth says Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness, and Roly Russell, parliamentary secretary for rural development, will start in their new roles immediately. He says they previously worked to help Grand Forks, B.C., rebuild following floods in 2018.

Farnworth says they will listen to feedback from village residents and bring the information back to the government through the cabinet working group on wildfire recovery.

He says the ministry has also committed funding for both the transportation and disposal of debris preventing further delays in the cleanup process.

"We all want to see Lytton rebuilt and rebuilt quickly, but the reality is that housing solutions take time,'' he said Wednesday in a release.

"There will be many challenges in this recovery in the weeks and months to come, but I can assure Lyttonites that the province will continue to work directly with the village to get you back on your feet."

'People are traumatized'

Ron Mattiussi, acting chief administrative officer of Lytton, presented a short-term recovery plan to town council Wednesday night.

That plan focuses on what is immediately needed for residents to return home safely, such as debris removal, building critical infrastructure and providing essential services like health care, police and banking.

According to recent municipal records, the Village of Lytton was home to between 275 and 288 residents prior to the fire. 

  • Read a draft version of the short-term recovery plan for Lytton here.

"People are traumatized and people are upset," Mattiussi told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's The Early Edition, on Thursday morning.

According to Mattiussi, approximately 40 per cent of homes destroyed by the summer blaze were not insured and residents are currently scattered across the province.

"Just trying to get a hold of the residents is not as easy as one would think," he said.

In August, residents and business owners sent a letter to Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing Josie Osborne, asking the provincial government to take an active role in rebuilding the village and support local elected officials.

Mattiussi said the appointments of Rice and Russel are a welcome addition to the recovery process and he looks forward to working with them on a long-term plan for Lytton's comeback.

Ron Mattiussi speaks with Stephen Quinn about the next steps to repairing the devastated town. 8:27

With files from The Early Edition

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