New supports a big step toward Lytton’s recovery

February 9, 2022 at 1:58 pm  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Lytton will benefit from more than $8.3 million in funding from the Province to support ongoing village operations and recovery.

In addition, legislative changes will enable the village’s council to repeal and replace bylaws that were destroyed in the catastrophic fire on June 30, 2021.

“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. “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.”

The Province is providing the Village of Lytton $6.26 million 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 worry about revenue generation. 

“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.”

Legislative changes are also coming to further support the Village of Lytton as it moves forward with recovery. 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 clarity and enable it to take steps toward recreating a full suite of bylaws to support governance and administration.

Bill No. 2 amends the Municipalities Enabling and Validating (No.4) Amendment Act, 2022 to address the unique circumstances faced by Lytton. The amendments will support the village by:

  • validating the repeal and replacement of bylaws that were lost during the fire;
  • enabling the Lieutenant Governor in Council to waive, modify or exempt specific legislative requirements, by regulation, for lost bylaws on a case-by-case basis and at the request of the village; and
  • if needed, validating actions or decisions the village may have taken, in good faith, in relation to a lost bylaw.

“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.

Today’s funding and proposed legislation complement other supports the Province has provided to Lytton over the past several months, including funding several staff positions focused on temporary housing, local government recovery, safe return and re-entry, and financial and in-kind support, as well as a $1-million grant to support the village in its economic recovery from the wildfire.

Quick Facts:

  • According to British Columbia Assessment, and based on information from Emergency Management BC, 187 of 193 (97%) residential and business properties in the village experienced damage that resulted in a partial write-down of their property assessment for 2022.
  • Of 187 damaged residential and business properties, 124 (66%) were damaged or destroyed.
  • The B.C. government is supporting Lytton’s recovery by funding four key areas: emergency housing; a local government recovery team; resident’s safe return and re-entry; and other financial and in-kind supports, including donation management co-ordination and case management.

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