Lytton issues first building permit after devastating 2021 wildfire

By The Canadian Press and Charlie Carey

The Village of Lytton has reached a milestone in its rebuilding process after the Fraser Canyon community was destroyed by wildfire more than two years ago.

Mayor Denise O’Connor says the village has issued its first building permit for a single-family home in the downtown area.

O’Connor says she has a hard time accepting that it has taken so long, but more permits are expected to be approved in the near future.

The first permit comes about four months after backfilling work began on properties destroyed by the June 2021 fire. 

It comes Lytton residents took to the streets last month, coming together in protest to highlight the lengthy delays on getting back to their homes.

“I miss home everyday. I miss having my spot that I can call my own. I miss being able to walk out in my yard and cut my lawn on Sundays and move the sprinkler, say hi to my neighbour. It was just a really heartfelt, warm community,” said local Kathryn Brooks.

There have been several factors that have contributed to the delays in rebuilding Lytton. The province says the soil was contaminated and hazardous, adding it took many months before safety standards could be met.

Also, because Lytton stood on the site of a traditional First Nations village, there need to be archaeological reviews of the land before any work can proceed.

The fire that demolished Lytton came as the community had been grappling with record-breaking heat. The village recorded the highest temperatures ever in Canada on three consecutive days, the highest being 49.6 degrees.

At the time of the fire, Public Safety Minister Mike Farnworth said the majority of homes and infrastructure in the village were destroyed.

“This has been a very difficult day, and the days ahead are going to continue to challenge us,” Farnworth said. “This fire moved aggressively and continues to do so, burning through the extreme conditions that have resulted from the record heat in the area.”

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