Residents of Leiden, British Columbia appeal to the provincial government to help guide the local government in reconstruction
Due to the lack of communication with the local government, some residents and business owners in Leiden, BC were frustrated and asked the provincial government to play an active role in the reconstruction of the village. Razed to the ground by fire More than a month ago.
On Friday, disappointed residents wrote to the Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, Josie Osborne, asking the provincial government to support the village’s elected officials.
The letter said: “We are worried that our mayor and city council do not have the skills, experience and emotional health to make decisions and plans around the reconstruction of Litton Village.”
Denise O’Connor, who has lived in Lytton all his life, said that she wrote this letter, as well as the opinions of friends.
“It’s not that they don’t work hard,” O’Connor said of the mayor and city council. “I know they are doing things, but I think it’s too much for them.”
She said that within 24 hours, 59 residents and 12 companies or organizations signed agreements to support the letter.
“It means a lot to us,” O’Connor said, noting that there are only about 250 residents in the village.
‘The council is a bit beyond their depth’
The letter explained that the past month has been a period of anxiety due to the lack of communication and involvement between Lytton Mayor Jan Polderman and the city council.
Some of the issues raised included no formal contact with most residents, no contact with four of the five local aboriginals, and the lack of experience of some parliamentarians and village chief administrative officers.
The letter stated that residents have some unresolved questions about what has happened in Litton since the fire, such as reconstruction plans, access to property, temporary housing and services, and community consultation.
Watch | Litton residents return to investigate fire damage:
“I know everyone is doing their best, but I think the council is a little bit beyond their depth in dealing with such a large-scale disaster,” said Jennifer South, the homeowner who supported the letter.
As the fire destroyed most of the property and services, citizens dispersed one after another. Some live with friends or family, some live in hotels or short-term rentals.
O’Connor said she and her husband live on Airbnb in Merritt, British Columbia, and they are solving insurance issues. They eagerly check the town’s website every night for new information.
“Merritt is a great small community, but I don’t want to live here,” O’Connor said. “I want to live near Lytton. I want to live near the house we are going to rebuild.”
Provide daily information: Mayor
The mayor of Baldman said that information is being shared every day and the village office is open.
“I strongly recommend calling the village office now in Kamloops,” Bodman said. “Once we have the possibility to set up an office, it will return to the Litton area.”
The mayor said that he has set a goal of rebuilding the village in the next two years.
At the same time, residents who have lost their homes are required to register with the Emergency Operations Center to receive instructions to move their properties. The Fraser Basin Trust will conduct community consultations, and officials are actively looking for locations to build temporary housing.