Bella Bella


The Heiltsuk are Indigenous people of the Central Coast region in British Columbia, centred on the community of Bella Bella located on Campbell Island approximately 550 kilometers north of Vancouver. The Heiltsuk population has grown steadily over the past 20 years to over 2,400 members. The objective of the compact housing project is to address the urgent shortage of affordable housing. It represents an important opportunity for the Heiltsuk Nation to improve their ability to design, construct and maintain culturally and environmentally appropriate housing. Construction started in the late summer of 2018. Builders Without Borders is providing project management services + training local workers.

One solution are 384 sq.ft. tiny housess that meets a need in the community providing independent living for individuals, couples and young families. A new 64 lot subdivision was completed in late 2017 to accommodate further housing requirements including four tiny homes. The remaining phases of the subdivision will address home designs for larger families.

The tiny house drawings were completed by John Ryder an Architectural student. Scott Kemp, a registered Architect with considerable experience with Aboriginal communities, was engaged to authenticate the design and monitor the construction process. The project’s design goal is to develop culturally appropriate and environmentally adapted housing and to support the development of a local economy through the production of local materials and the development of marketable skills within the community.

A contractor was engaged with residential home construction experience in remote locations including Bella Bella. BWB has participated in budgeting and scheduling including construction training component and developing contractual language that realizes the project goals while being fair to all parties.

 BWB’s role during role during construction is to act as the Owner’s Representative in any construction changes. BWB will track the progress of the project against the stated goals and requirements ensuring that regular reporting is completed on an ongoing basis. In the event of deviation from the project’s goals BWB would suggest remedial actions and to evaluate the extent to which the completed project meets the stated goals.

The Anticipated Result

 Post construction, BWB will evaluate the extent to which the completed project meets the stated goals and make all drawings, documents, and costing publicly available for use by others. BWB also will assess the replicability of the project in the selected community and lead a post occupancy evaluation of the home(s).and work with the other partners on the completion of a project report including a construction management/cost analysis.