Reconstruction of the small British Columbian village of Lytton, which became a symbol of climate change when it was razed to the ground last summer after breaking an all-time heat record in Canada, will not begin until September.
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“The plan for the community of Lytton is that we want people to be able to start rebuilding, physically, starting in September,” B.C. Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth, during a press briefing.
Mr. Farnworth said he understands that residents of the community, still housed nearly a year after the devastating fire, are feeling frustration.
"The reality is that recovery can take a long time," explained the Minister, noting that work is well underway to be able to restore services in the community, such as electricity, fiber optics or telephony.
The minister provided an update on reconstruction on the sidelines of a press briefing to announce a $207 million contribution from the federal government to help British Columbia recover from the 2021 wildfires.
This envelope represents “a decisive step forward to allow these communities to recover, to increase their long-term resilience and to keep Canadians safe”, pleaded the Minister of Emergency Preparedness, Bill Blair, the day after a visit to Lytton.
On June 27, 28 and 29, the community of Lytton broke the heat record recorded in Canada three times, with a temperature that rose to 49.5°C. On June 30, a fire of unknown origin broke out and ravaged the village, causing two deaths and more than $100 million in damage, according to the Insurance Bureau of Canada.
The year 2021 has been, once again, a difficult year for wildfires in British Columbia, where some 869,000 hectares have been ravaged by flames. The province was also marked in November by torrential rains which washed away sections of road and killed five people.