Lytton residents commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Lytton Creek Fire as they came together to reconnect and support one another following the June 30, 2021 fire that caused many of them to lose their homes and continues to impact their lives.
“Many of Lytton’s buildings were destroyed by the fire, but our community was not,” said Edith Loring-Kuhanga, school administrator for the Stein Valley Nlakapamux School. “The strength of our community has helped us carry on over the past year.”
The community buried a time capsule with art, letters and painted stones with images depicting the people that helped them over the past year. Residents joined with students at the Stein Valley Nlakapamux School to paint the commemorative stones. The time capsule is set to be re-opened in thirty years.
“So many people, both inside and outside our community, helped us after the fire,” said Denise O’Connor, a retired school principal and volunteer with the Lytton Resiliency Centre. “This is one way we can honour them and the memory of that experience.”
The morning began with art therapy, massage, psychological support and traditional wellness activities followed by a luncheon of Samoan pig roast as well as Korean and Chinese dishes.
Village of Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman has seen the toll the year has taken on Lytton residents.
“The last 12 months have been long and challenging, with more obstacles than I ever thought possible,” he said. “But, through it all, the one thing that remained constant was the kindness shown by our community. Every single day our community has come together to support each other and this recovery process.”
Byron Spinks, school board vice-president for the Stein Valley Nlakapamux School, points out the long journey to recovery and rebuild is still underway.
“We cannot forget that a year after the fire, many Lytton residents are still without homes and much of the devastation created by the fire still remains,” Spinks said.