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Letter: Lytton-Maui is a tragic opportunity for comparison

Two years later and Lytton residents still not getting help, says letter writer
Wildfire wreckage is shown Thursday, Aug. 10, 2023, in Lahaina, Hawaii. The search of the wildfire wreckage on the Hawaiian island of Maui on Thursday revealed a wasteland of burned out homes and obliterated communities as firefighters battled the stubborn blaze making it the deadliest in the U.S. in recent years. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Dear editor:

I have long considered the Provincial and Federal governments handling of the Lytton fire an utter and total failure. These citizens have been victimized more by the primary and ongoing involvement of provincial government and now by the total lack of even minimal federal considerations.

We have long been breeding a government that is removed from the needs of the people and totally self-involved in its own bureaucratization and blind adherence to outdated poorly thought out and badly administered policies and regulations.

These citizens have been waiting more than two years now to regain access to their own properties while the government refuses entry on the grounds that it is not safe for them to have access. While there indeed is hazards, we are forgetting Canada is supposedly a free and democratic country.

The loss of the right to decide on risk assessment is becoming a wide and dangerous brush to be painting policies with. We must start considering what is lost by allowing governments the ability to restrict access to legally owned private property on that basis.

When allowed to be applied to private properties post event, the residents are being twice victimized. Two weeks or possibly a month may have been able to be justified but the two-year postponement of people’s lives while bureaucracies tinker should be considered a crime and most assuredly adds tremendous mental stress.

With the recent tragic events in Hawaii, it will be interesting to see how our neighbours to the south handle this event. There is no doubt that the risks and hazards to the resident of Lahaina are the same if not greater than those posed in Lytton. The American nation has long prided itself on personal freedoms so it will be a reasonable comparison of how each country views and take on those freedoms.

Make no mistake both events are tragic and horrifying but as with all tragedies we should take the opportunity to learn and review our shortcomings. I personally believe that the Lytton tragedy was and still is being seriously mishandled. Perhaps this comparison will educate me or even prove me wrong so we should be aware that these tragedies will happen here again and likely sooner than later and this is a learning opportunity as terrible as it is.

One man’s opinion.

Rick Knodel


RDOS director for Area C

READ MORE: Deadly Maui wildfire triggers advisory for Canadians to avoid travel