Tag Archives: Bella Coola

Vancouver Island Regional Library explains 15% Budget Increase

The Vancouver Island Regional Library increased its operating budget for 2024 to $38 million. That is 15% more money than last year ($33 million).  Executive Director Brent Hyman explained that this increase is necessary because the library’s  previous management did not budget properly and more money is needed for wages, benefits and leases. He has been giving presentations to the library’s funding partners. He has already spoken in Victoria, Nanaimo, and some of the other regional districts. Six of the library’s 39 branches are in the Strathcona Regional District (SRD) and he gave a presentation at the SRD Board’s March 27th meeting. 

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Seafest 2023 At Squirrel Cove 

About 350 people* came to Squirrel Cove for Seafest on Saturday May 20. There was a flow-through crowd and not much more than a third of this number appeared to be at the six-hour long festival at any given time.

“I think Seafest is great, it brings a lot of cultures together and  lots of different seafoods,” said Sharon Francis, a Squirrel Cove resident and member of the Klahoose First Nation.

Curt Cunningham, owner manager of the Squirrel Cove General Store which hosted this year’s festival, added, “They’ve done an incredible job. We’re going to have a good day, a good summer, and this is gonna kick it off!” 

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Paramedic shortages still plague rural areas, but some remedies may be in the works

Editor’s note: According to BC Emergency Health Service, this does not apply to Cortes Island which is allegedly “well staffed with all 4 Scheduled On-call (SOC) positions filled and 3 on call staff.  SOC shifts are 24-hour shifts. Paramedics are at the station from 8am to 4pm, and carry a pager outside those hours.”

Canada’s National Observer, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter

Quadra Island resident Carol Woolsey had the misfortune to experience a medical emergency in her rural community last month after the last ferry had sailed for the night. 

After developing searing pain in her lower abdomen, the77-year-old and her cousin called911 around 10 p.m. on April 2. 

Disoriented by pain and vomiting constantly into her kitchen sink, it seemed to Woolsey it was taking forever for paramedics to arrive. She was relieved to see two people come through the door around 20 minutes later. 

However, relief turned to alarm when she learned the two were local volunteer firefighters responding because there were no paramedics available on the island. Woolsey had to wait for a crew to come by water taxi from Campbell River. 

Continue reading Paramedic shortages still plague rural areas, but some remedies may be in the works

Spill to Sustenance

Six years on from the fuel spill that devastated Heiltsuk waters and clam gardens, the nation is pulling together to proactively build food sovereignty

Originally published on the Watershed Sentinel

by Jamie-Leigh Gonzales

The central coast rainforest, with its horizons of emerald islands roamed by wolves, orcas, and bears, is a source of life and wellbeing for all peoples who live there. The Heiltsuk Nation have lived off their land since time immemorial, and their culture is deeply rooted in the land and marine ecosystems. They continue to protect their relationship with the land against extractive industry and ongoing colonial practices that seek to eradicate Indigenous land stewardship.

In 2016, the Nathan E. Stewart tug ran aground, spilling over 110,000 litres of diesel oil in Heiltsuk waters of Gale Creek Pass. The devastating impacts on marine life and the surrounding ecosystem continue today, nearly six years after the spill. A healthy clam beach has yet to return, and the site remains a danger to the marine life, such as herring, salmon, and kelp, that once thrived there.

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The paramedic situation on Cortes and Quadra Islands

There have been numerous reports of BC ambulances being understaffed recently. According to Prince Rupert Northern View, the Bella Coola ambulance was only in service for 52% of July. Quadra Island volunteer firefighter Marc Doll recently informed Cortes Currents there are times when no paramedics are available on Quadra and ‘any firefighter that currently has a class four license is basically being put on standby because they no longer have the ability to have two people scheduled to keep the ambulance going.’ After receiving a couple of anonymous tips on Cortes Island, Cortes Currents asked BC Emergency Health Services (BCEHS) for an update on the local situation. 

Continue reading The paramedic situation on Cortes and Quadra Islands