Monday March 7, 2022 | VICTORIA, BC
by Mary P Brooke | Island Social Trends
The village of Lytton which burned to the ground during the five-day heat dome weather event in June 2021 has been slow undergoing preparations for recovery. Things like removal of toxic materials and sifting through debris for personal items and artifacts has already been happening.
There has also been work to determine which properties are insured, as well as which are uninsured or under-insured, explained Farnworth. Review of local bylaws was done. Load limits were determined.
The new funding of $18.4 million for the fuller recovery process (on top of $9.3 million already issued for operations and recovery) was announced today by Public Safety Minister and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth.
In the 1 pm livestream, Farnworth told media that the funding will “clear the way for the rebuilding of Lytton”.
June 30 fire:
Temperatures reached nearly 50°C in June 2021 in Lytton, breaking a Canada-wide record (at 49.6°C) for the hottest temperature ever recorded. Whether it was a spark from a nearby rail track (as has been proposed and investigated) or other source of spark, fire spread rapidly through the town on June 30.
Local government got their residents out quickly; only two lives were lost.
The village population is about 250, combined with about 1,000 First Nations residents in the area. Nearly every house within the village was destroyed; a few across the highway were spared but cut off from services like electricity and water.
The watershed in the area may have been contaminated by chemicals that were used to fight the fire; toxic chemical exposure will be a risk during the recovery phase.
The village was not prepared with much if any attention to FireSmart best practices.
The provincial government will be paying for removal of debris including ash, soot, metals, bricks and other building materials from more than 200 properties. That work begins tomorrow, March 8. After that work is completed, debris removal action will shift to residential properties.
Following debris removal, the Province will coordiate and fund archaeological work that would otherwise be covered by the residents. “This is an area of cultural importance,” said Farnworth, noting both Indigenous and Chinese history in the area.
Deputy minister assigned:
A deputy minister is being assigned to oversee the success of the Lytton rebuilding project.
Two parliamentary secretaries involved in overseeing the progress of rebuilding Lytton also addressed media today: Rory Russell. Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development and Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness.
Other staff and consultants:
The Province is funding temporary accommodation for as many as 30 staff, consultants and construction workers who are doing the work.
Funding will also support project management, engineering design work and security.
Meteorologist tells UBCM: heat dome was no surprise (September 15, 2021)
Heat wave response by government is coming, says Premier (July 13, 2021)
Hot weather: stay hydrated & protected from sun (June 25, 2021)