Outpouring of generosity helps Lytton-area couple build a new home out of the ashes

The kindness of their hearts

Tricia Thorpe didn’t expect to be learning how to build her own home at her age, but she is, and it’s been a heart-warming experience.

Thorpe and her partner Don Glasgow lost their home and some of their animals in the wildfire that destroyed most of the buildings in Lytton, B.C. on June 30, 2021. They didn’t have fire insurance.

Thorpe and Glasgow don’t live in the Village of Lytton and they aren’t members of the Lytton First Nation. Their property is in the Thompson Nicola Regional District, so Tricia says they fall between the cracks for government-assisted rebuilding plans.

However, they have seen a tremendous outpouring of support and help, allowing them to start construction on a new house.

About $16,500 has come through a Go Fund Me campaign. Friends have donated lumber, volunteers have offered to do manual labour and Tricia says a man from the coast, who they didn’t even know, drove up with a truckload of building materials.

“Out of the kindness of his heart. That’s what most of this has been. Simply out of the kindness of people’s hearts. We have met the most incredible, incredible people on this journey, people we never knew before, and they’re friends. Well actually, they’re like family,” Thorpe says it’s been unbelievable.

Their new house will be Net-Zero. The walls are made of concrete, the siding is also concrete, the roof will be tin, and they will be using an air-to-water heat exchange to heat and cool the building.

Tricia is hoping to move in by the end of November, but more realistically, it will probably be closer to Christmas.

But for residents in the Village of Lytton, the waiting game continues.

Thorpe is doubtful temporary housing will be in place before winter. “I think more needs to be done than is being done. The things that are starting to happen now, from what I understand with the village, are things that should have happened a week or two after the fire, not four months after the fire.”

“In some ways, it’s difficult falling between the cracks, and in some ways, it’s an extreme blessing because we are not tied up in the bureaucracy,” she adds.

Late Wednesday, Mike Farnworth, Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General, released a statement about Lytton’s wildfire recovery.

Jennifer Rice, Parliamentary Secretary for Emergency Preparedness, and Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development, have been appointed as recovery liaisons between the government and the village.

“Parliamentary secretaries Rice and Russell have extensive experience in supporting Grand Forks’ ongoing community rebuild following the 2018 floods, and I am confident they will bring both their knowledge of disaster recovery and a compassionate lens to this significant directive,” said Farnworth.

They have been tasked with strengthening the lines of communication with the mayor and council of the Village of Lytton and taking feedback from residents to the cabinet working group on wildfire recovery.

Farnworth also announced that emergency supports will be extended through to at least the spring for those who have lost a primary residence and that the province is stepping in to speed up debris removal.

“There will be many challenges in this recovery in the weeks and months to come. But I can assure Lyttonites that the Province will continue to work directly with the village to get you back on your feet.”

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