Amid the devastation in Lytton comes one ray of hope.
The Board of Education of School District No. 74 (Gold Trail) has confirmed that Kumsheen ShchEma-meet School was spared from the fire that has destroyed 90 per cent of the town.
The school — formerly Kumsheen Secondary — is located on Highway 1 at the south end of Lytton, away from the downtown area. It was recently converted to a K–12 facility, and as a result Lytton Elementary School was closed in January 2021. SD74 has confirmed that the former elementary school, which was located in the downtown area, was lost to the fire.
When the former seconday school reopened as a K–12 school in January, it was renamed following consultation with the community. ShchEma-meet is the Nlaka’pamux word for “children”.
The former elementary school building was being leased by Nzen’man’ Child and Family Development as a location for the programs it offers the community.
“We are deeply saddened to see the devastation left by the fire in Lytton,” says a statement from the SD74 board. “Our thoughts are with the students, families, staff, community members of Lytton and the surrounding communities who have lost their homes, who have been displaced and have had their sense of safety and security taken from them.
”Our sympathies go to Nzen’man’ Child and Family who was leasing the building and providing an invaluable service to the community through their work.
“Lytton and the Nlaka’pamux people are strong and resilient; we are here to assist in each next step.”