LYTTON, B.C.—Lytton, a B.C. community that was almost completely destroyed by wildfires in 2021, is getting a major funding boost to assist recovery efforts.
The province announced $8.3 million to support ongoing village operations and recovery.
In addition, B.C. is making legislative changes that will allow the village’s council to repeal and replace bylaws that were destroyed.
“We know this has been an incredibly difficult time for people in Lytton and our government is taking the necessary steps to support the council and staff with their recovery,” said Josie Osborne, minister of municipal affairs, in a statement. “Through new operating funding and legislative changes, we’re ensuring the village has the resources they need and the legal ground necessary to take important actions toward rebuilding.”
B.C. will give $6.26 million in funding immediately to help it manage significant wildfire response and recovery costs. These include fixing the water and wastewater system, legal and governance issues, recovery consultation, debris removal, environmental and archeological remediation and more. To bolster severely reduced revenues from the loss of its property tax base, an additional $2.1 million in funding will support the village through three years of core operations. This will give Lytton time to focus on planning, recovery and rebuilding, without having to focus on revenue.
“We know there is a lot of work that still needs to be done, and our government is committed to supporting this recovery,” said Jennifer Rice, parliamentary secretary for emergency preparedness. “As recovery liaisons to the Village of Lytton, Parliamentary Secretary Roly Russell and I are supporting the village as it recovers from a devastating wildfire. This funding support from our government and the re-establishment of their bylaws are two significant and positive steps in their recovery.”
The province explained legislative changes are necessary as all of the village’s records and backup servers were lost during the fire and the content of many existing bylaws remains unknown. Legislative amendments introduced will give council the power to recreate a full suite of bylaws to support governance and administration.
“We appreciate the hard work of staff, both the Village Recovery Team and ministry folks who put together the legislative amendments on our behalf,” said Jan Polderman, mayor of Lytton. “The village rebuild has been incredibly complex and the documents’ recovery is no exception. We are grateful to now have access to funding in order to put in place the framework and increase capacity to get the reconstruction underway, which will allow us to ramp up the infrastructure rebuild.”
The types of bylaws that Lytton needs to replace include administrative bylaws, such as records management, regulatory bylaws to support elections and land-use bylaws that would be created for building and zoning purposes.