Woman upset with PM saying village ravaged by fire has disappeared as locals wait for help – Vernon Morning Star


A woman in Lytton, British Columbia, is angry after the Prime Minister said her hometown had left after a fire ravaged the community of 250 people last June.

In a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Sarah Brown said she was “shocked, upset and quite honest, offended”.

Trudeau spoke about Lytton’s plight in his opening remarks at the COP 26 summit in Glasgow, Scotland, where world leaders gathered to discuss their countries’ efforts to tackle climate change.

“In Canada, there was a town called Lytton. I say it’s because on June 30 it burned to the ground, ”one reads in Trudeau’s partial remarks, referring to a devastating period of days in the community of central British Columbia where temperatures reached 49.6 ° C before the city ignited in a forest fire.

But Brown said that although many structures in the center of the village are gone, the community that made up Lytton is still there.

“Lytton still exists. Yes 90% of downtown Lytton Village and Lytton First Nation IR 17 & 18 burned down in the June 30 fire, but the Lytton community remains strong, ”she said, adding that at least 50 people whose homes did not burn down still live in Lytton.

“The community of Lytton, in the immediate vicinity of the exclusion zone, is still very much alive. “

Brown was born in Lytton in a house her parents moved to in 1990.

“This is the same house they escaped from on June 30, 2021,” she noted.

Brown also directed her frustrations at what she called the “bureaucratic red tape” that has kept residents from rebuilding their lives. She cited a July 1 conversation Trudeau had with Prime Minister John Horgan where he “assured Prime Minister Horgan of the Government of Canada’s support for the people of Lytton and all those affected by the fires.”

However, Brown said help had not arrived.

“Although you pledged this support, community members didn’t see it,” she said, adding that Trudeau also chose not to stop at Lytton on any of his recent trips to British Columbia, notably in Surrey in July, in Tofino in September and in Kamloops last. month.

The province provided some support to the Lytton evacuees; in July, this government pledged $ 2,000 for households affected by the wildfire and other assistance, including housing, was provided through emergency support services.

In October, the province appointed Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness, and Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development, to act as the liaison between the government and the village.

“We all want to see Lytton rebuilt and rebuilt quickly. But the reality is that housing solutions take time. There will be obstacles on the road to recovery, ”Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said in an Oct. 27 statement.

Earlier this summer, the province and the federal government pledged to match donations by British Columbians to the Canadian Red Cross Forest Fire Fund, up to a total of $ 20 million, to helping those affected by wildfires in British Columbia, including Lytton.

However, many of the other efforts have been at the grassroots level, whether at the local Lytton level or through fundraising efforts across the province, ranging from lemonade stands to GoFundMes.

Black Press Media has contacted the Prime Minister’s Office for a response.


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