Two hikers were rescued near Mount Waddington Friday, July 29. (Photo submitted)

Two hikers were rescued near Mount Waddington Friday, July 29. (Photo submitted)

Year in Review 2022: July, August and September

Injured hikers rescued, local athletes attend BC Summer Games, paramedic shortage

July 7, 2022

First Nations cultural learning can give students grad credits

B.C. is expanding its external credentials program (ECP) to include First Nations language and culture programs toward high school graduation.

The province announced the move effective Friday, July 1, which means First Nations will be able to create and approve their language and cultural programs to be recognized by the Ministry of Education and Childcare.

“The ministry is pleased to work in partnership with the First Nations Education Steering Committee to enable students to receive credit toward graduation for First Nations language and culture teaching that takes place outside of their regular school program,” said Jennifer Whiteside, Minister of Education and Child Care in a news release.

“This new external credential option recognizes the valuable learning opportunities that First Nations provide to youth in their communities.”

Bella Coola athletes heading to B.C. Summer Games

Bella Coola will have 10 athletes representing the community and the Zone 8 Cariboo-Northeast team at the upcoming B.C. Summer Games in Prince George July 21-24.

Sir Alexander Mackenzie School coach Alex Boileau said the athletes have worked hard in practices and will be doing a fundraiser (car wash) to help with fundraising in mid-July so stay tuned for more information.

“We will also keep you posted on their experience and results, we have a strong contingent of athletes from Bella Coola, who are striving for personal bests, medals and potentially a championship.”

BC Summer Games athletes from Bella Coola include sisters Ayanna and Annika Parr playing basketball and Thompson Beloin, Declan Ratcliff, Morgan Boileau, Shaylen Moody, Isla Hodgson, Markus Hembruff, Nathaniel Schooner and Danny Legault competing in track and field.

August 4, 2022

Injured hiker and second climber rescued by BCVSAR near Mount Waddington

A pair of hikers were rescued from a remote area near Mount Waddington on Friday, July 29 after one of them became injured by a falling rock.

The two hikers were climbing between Serra Peak 4 and 5, near Mount Waddington when one climber was struck by a falling rock in the arm and leg, said a spokesperson with Bella Coola Valley Search and Rescue (BCVSAR).

When the pair realized the injured climber had a large gash that was bleeding profusely, they activated their SPOT/Inreach SOS.

Upon receiving the SPOT/Inreach notification the RCMP alerted BCVSAR and the group was paged out at 2:09 p.m.

Access Helicopters had a machine operating in the area of Bella Coola and once BCVSAR was activated was able to transport the rescue team.

August 18, 2022

Chief raises alarm over ambulance staffing

A lack of BC Ambulance paramedics meant Bella Coola RCMP had to transport a deceased woman in a body bag, in the back of their pickup truck to the hospital, on July 23, Samuel Schooner, Chief of the Nuxalk Nation, said.

Schooner, who spoke to Black Press Media on August 15 about ambulance staffing concerns, said because ambulances were more than two hours away, RCMP officers responded to the medical call where the 52-year-old woman was in cardiac arrest.

The officers provided CPR for more than an hour before a doctor from BC Ambulance Services, over the phone, pronounced her dead.

Once the declaration of death was made, police officers then had to obtain a body bag from Bella Coola hospital to transport the body in the back of a police vehicle to the morgue.

At the time of the emergency, there were no paramedics on duty in Bella Coola. The closest ambulance was in Anahim Lake, which according to Google Maps, is one hour and 43 minutes away. However, Schooner said it takes longer than that to travel between the two locations.

“Two hours if we’re lucky, depending on road conditions.”

Coast Guard Science-at-Sea Expedition attracts inquisitive Bella Coola residents

Fisheries and Oceans Canada’s Sharing Science-at-Sea Expedition visited the Bella Coola Harbour on Thursday, Aug. 11.

Locals had the opportunity to tour the CCGS Sir John Franklin, meet the captain, crew and scientists.

There were Coast Guard demonstrations, hands-on science displays and fun games, giveaways and refreshments.

The expedition took place over 10 days and the ship visited five communities on the Central Coast, said Michelle Imbeau, communications advisor for the Canadian Coast Guard Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

“Bella Coola was the last community visited before the ship turned back south.”

September 1, 2022

B.C., feds share cost of $5M Bella Bella airport road realignment, bike path project

The Heiltsuk First Nation is receiving $1,276,570 in provincial funding, along with $3,829,711 in federal funding, for the Heiltsuk Airport Road Realignment project.

NDP MLA Jennifer Rice said the infrastructure funding will build a more resilient community in Bella Bella by constructing a new two-kilometre road to link the community and the airport, and convert the existing road to a dedicated pedestrian and bike path.

“There are only two ways people can get in and out of Bella Bella: via air or water. Any improvements to make these services more accessible are vitally important to the residents and will help enable tourism and economic development in Heiltsuk territory,” said Jennifer Rice, MLA for North Coast. “These road upgrades will ensure safe, smooth transportation for everyone who visits Bella Bella by air.”

Bella Coola River kayaker rescued

A kayaker reported missing on the Bella Coola River Saturday evening, Aug. 20, was located by search and rescue on the shore just after midnight.

After getting caught up in a logjam due to the current, the kayaker managed to pull himself off the logjam and balance his way out, said Bella Coola Valley Search and Rescue (BCVSAR) vice-president Andrew Stapleton.

“It was a miracle because that type of situation is normally a death sentence,” Stapleton told Black Press Media.

Making it to the shore in between Walker Island and Grant Road, the kayaker built a small fire with a lighter and waited for help.

September 29, 2022

Bella Coola ambulance service had coverage for only half of July 2022

The Bella Coola ambulance was only in-service 52 per cent of July, Lesley Pritchard, communications for BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) stated in an email.

The in-service average over the past year was higher, at 75 per cent, but was still equivalent to one week per month without ambulance services.

A recently-retired paramedic in the community, Jeffrey Snow, blamed the lack of coverage on a new staffing model that was introduced last fall.

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Riding the loaded train was one of the fun activities at the Bella Coola Fall Fair. (Photo submitted)

Riding the loaded train was one of the fun activities at the Bella Coola Fall Fair. (Photo submitted)