Bear Cove terminal services attendants, Sue Heemels (left) and Nat Hine (right), loading the truck with groceries bound for Bella Bella and Klemtu residents. (Submitted photo)

First Nation praises BC Ferries’ ‘phenomenal’ grocery delivery service to community

With over 1850 boxes delivered, the ferry service continues to transport groceries from Port Hardy to Klemtu and Bella Bella

A First Nation from B.C.’s central coast is praising BC Ferries for delivering groceries to people in Klemtu and Bella Bella since April.

When the pandemic began, the ferry service eliminated a major need to travel for members of the Kitasoo/Xai’xais First Nation by transplanting their usual grocery shopping from Port Hardy to the terminals at Bella Bella and Klemtu.

BC ferries has delivered more than 1,521 boxes of groceries to Klemtu and more than 332 boxes to Bella Bella since April, said BC Ferries spokesperson, Tessa Humphries.

Klemtu and Bella Bella are accessible only by water or boat. Residents often use the ferry service to get their groceries from Port Hardy. The idea — proposed by a BC ferries employee from Prince Rupert — was a welcome relief for these remote central coast communities after the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Residents could order their groceries online from the Port Hardy Save on Foods and BC Ferries would deliver it to the terminals at Bella Bella and Klemtu.

READ MORE: BC Ferries implements employee’s plan to deliver groceries to central coast

Councillor Isaiah Robinson of the Kitasoo band said BC Ferries has been doing a “phenomenal job” by supporting the First Nation through “these hard times.”

Klemtu has been closed to non-locals since March and will remain so until further notice. Many remote First Nations are still pondering the reopening of their territories and have not yet lifted the restrictions to ensure the safety of their members.

Robinson appreciated that the ferry service was still transporting food and “especially respecting” the First Nations’ decision of “operating at a different level than the rest of the province.”

“Our members are extremely pleased and overjoyed about this service, and hope that it can continue on after the pandemic,” said Robinson.

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