Bella Bella is located on Campbell Island in the heart of the Great Bear Rainforest on the Central Coast of BC. It is approximately 200km north of Vancouver Island and 150km west of Bella Coola. There is year-round access by air and ferry to Bella Bella and with regular ferry and seaplane access to nearby communities. The areas rely on fishing, tourism, and logging as their main industries and locals are heavily involved in cultural activities and traditional food gathering and preservation. There is a K-12 school, grocery and convenience stores, fish plant, and daycare and is home to approx. 1500 residents, primarily of Heiltsuk descent.
Primary health services in Bella Bella include Vancouver Coastal Health’s integrated ƛ̓uxválásu̓ilas Heiltsuk Hospital (kwil-valas-iwaylas)and Bella Bella Medical Clinic. The hospital provides acute, residential and emergency care, as well as diagnostic imaging, lab, pharmacy and visiting ultrasound services. The Heiltsuk Hailika’as Health Centre provides community health services including public health, maternal/child health, chronic disease, home care and patient travel services. Both facilities host robust outreach specialist clinics; providing in-person and telehealth consultations and testing with over 25 providers from around the province.
VCH provides primary care services to the nearby communities of Denny Island, Ocean Falls and Klemtu-home of the Kitasoo/Xai’Xais Nation.
Denny Island is located right next to Campbell River, with regular seabus service to the resort community of Shearwater. Approximately 75 year-round residents reside on Denny Island, mostly of non-First Nations descent.
Ocean Falls was once home to the largest pulp and paper mill in the province, a booming town of up to 3900, a K-12 school, hotels and an Olympic sized pool where many champions trained. It’s hydro plant still generates power for the communities of Bella Bella and Denny Island, and is home to only a couple dozen residents. A Bella Bella physician visits the community monthly.
Klemtu has a population of approximately 250 residents, a busy fish plant, beautiful cedar Big House, a grocery and convenience store, eco-lodge and a growing tourism industry operated by the Kitasoo Xai’Xais Nation. The Kitasoo Health Centre is locally run and professionally staffed by FNHA. It provides primary, community and home care nursing by RN’s with visiting/telehealth support from Bella Bella physicians.
Recreational opportunities abound for the outdoor enthusiast on the Central Coast. Borrow a kayak and paddle around the nearby islands. Fishing and eco-tours are available from nearby Shearwater resort or local residents. You might even catch a glimpse of a passing humpback, transient orca or sea lion from the unbeatable view of the ocean-front hospital. Bald eagles, various shore birds and great blue herons are commonly sighted. Beautiful staff accommodations are fully contained and close to the hospital, grocery store and dock. Visitors find community members warm and welcoming and everyone is greeted with a friendly wave or smile.
Pacific Coastal airlines offers 1 daily flight to/from Vancouver’s South Terminal in the winter months, and sometimes two flights per day in the summer. BC Ferries provides weekly service from Port Hardy, Bella Coola or Prince Rupert in the winter months, and increased service in the summer.