Mission-Matsqui-Fraser Canyon MP Brad Vis welcomed Canadian Minister of International Development Harjit Sajjan to Lytton in the wake of Sajjan’s announcement of $77 million in federal funding toward Lytton’s recovery following last year’s devastating wildfire.
Vis said the ongoing effort to rebuild Lytton is a rare instance of crossing party lines to band together for a greater good.
“I have fought hard and advocated relentlessly for the village of Lytton recovery, which has led us in part to here today,” Vis said in a June 14 statement.
Of the $77 million, $64 million will fund fire-resilient building costs. $6 million will go toward the new Lytton Homeowner Resilient Rebuild program to help rebuild homes destroyed by the fire. $7.2 million will support local businesses through the Lytton Business Restart program.
“In the coming days, I look forward to more details on how these funds will be administered,” Vis stated. “It is my hope that today’s announcement of funding will be quickly delivered and make a real difference in the lives of Lytton residents as they finally begin the rebuilding process.”
Vis noted that the year of displacement and uncertainty so many Lytton residents faced no doubt has taken a toll on them. He added the funding is “a giant leap forward” in the direction of healing and recovery.
B.C. Minister of Public Safety Mike Farnworth indicated the rebuilding of Lytton would likely begin in September, 15 months after a wildfire destroyed 90 per cent of the community.
Federal Emergency Preparedness Minister Bill Blair, meeting with Farnworth, announced that Ottawa is sending an advance payment of $207 million to B.C. to assist communities affected by wildfires. The province requested more than twice this amount.
Before homes can be rebuilt, Farnworth indicated environmental issues must be assessed, highways must be prepared and debris must be cleared, to say nothing of the utility infrastructure that needs work.
The federal government has committed more than $5 million toward disaster cleanup funding in the province as B.C. continues to finalize aid requests from last fall’s atmospheric rivers that flooded portions of the Fraser Valley and the Interior in November.
– With files from The Canadian Press