The Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Líl̓wat Stl’atl ímc Business Start-up Program (SLSBSP) has eleven participants elbows deep in the hard work of developing their businesses. The program, being spearheaded by the Whistler Centre for Sustainability in partnership with the Squamish Lil’wat Cultural Centre, helps members from regional Indigenous communities get their business up and off the ground. Applications were submitted from a cross section of Indigenous communities with some participants coming from as far as Tipella, a trek that takes over 3 hours down a rough gravel road. The businesses under development are unique, diverse and address community needs.

Patricia Aleck is originally from T’ít’qet, St’át’imc Nation near Lillooet, B.C. Patricia now lives in Qalatku7eM (Baptiste Smith), a small First Nations community 33.5 km down the West side of the Lillooet Lake West Forest Service Road. In other words, very isolated, very far from stores, traffic lights, and essential emergency services.

That aspect of isolation was exactly what sparked Rising Bear Emergency Services, the business Patricia is getting ready to launch. Having trained as an emergency responder in Lillooet, Patricia saw the need for emergency medical services not only for her own community of Qalatku7eM, but for the equally remote neighbouring communities of Tipella and Skatin. When an ambulance is called to any of these communities, it comes from as far away as Pemberton or Lillooet.

Patricia Aleck, Rising Bear Emergency Services

The remoteness of the area can confuse ambulance drivers who sometimes end up in the wrong community, adding to ambulance wait times that are reportedly 3-5 hours. In the emergency medical world, response times can make the difference between life and death. Further, the only in-road to these remote communities often requires a 4×4 vehicle, and is subject to frequent closures as a result of heavy rain, landslides, and dangerous winter conditions, cutting off road access all together.

Rising Bear will have an emergency transport vehicle stationed in each community with access to emergency medical equipment to treat and stabilize critically injured or ill patients living in the communities, as well as those travelling through. Vehicles will include an automated external defibrillator (better known as an AED), oxygen tank, spine board, and more.

Rising Bear Emergency Services will make informed emergency decisions regarding transporting patients to the Pemberton Medical Centre in Rising Bear Emergency Transport Vehicles, meeting the ambulance halfway, or calling in a helicopter, if needed. They will also assist in calling hospitals and clinics ahead of time to let them know what type of emergency medical situation is headed their way. And they will be able to bring patients home from the clinic after they have been treated, which is a barrier for those without a vehicle.

The business will also help build emergency response training, capacity, and awareness for the region. They will provide on-site services for special events, and treatment for minor medical treatments such as blood pressure checks and basic medical home care for those in need.

Rising Bear Emergency Services is getting ready to launch for summer 2019 and will soon launch Rising Bear Emergency Services Facebook Page. Stay tuned for details!

We’d like to thank our supporters for their funding and program contributions. For a full list of supporters, visit our Sḵwx̱wú7mesh Líl̓wat Stl’atl ímc Business Start-up Program (SLSBSP) program page.

For more information about the featured business ideas or the program, contact Cheeying or Dawn