Burning Of Cariboo Gold Quartz.
the Cariboo Gold Quartz Mining Company ceasing operation in 1967, much
of the employment needed to sustain a town the size of Wells disappeared.
Although employment had been slowly dwindling since the early 1960's,
with the Cariboo Gold Quartz ceasing it meant that a large source of
income for the population of Wells ended.
The Wells Townsite Company continued operating under the Cariboo Gold
Quartz until both closed down in 1967. Townsite houses were sold to
privately, the Community Hall was sold to the Wells Chamber of Commerce,
and the Hospital ceased operation and was also sold privately. The Provincial
Government took over the Wells School.
Because there was no body to take charge of the day to day running involved
in a town like Wells, the Wells Improvement District was formed in 1967.
It operated under the Cariboo Regional District (CRD) a local government
body, based in Quesnel, and its purpose was to administer the day to
day operations of the Wells Townsite, previously run by the Cariboo
Gold Quartz Mining Co. It was the first elected body in the town of
Burning the Cariboo Gold Quartz
Mine. 1977 PABC HP092719
of the various duties performed by the Wells Improvement District and
later taken over by the Cariboo Regional District included the administration
of the Centennial Hall, maintenance and running of water, garbage and
sewer systems, and upkeep of fire streetlights. As well the Wells Improvement
District was also involved in numerous campaigns pertaining to the well
being of the area, such as the failed soil remediation project. This
project tried to reclaim land that had been poisoned by the use of mining
chemicals. Another project that the Wells Improvement District was involved
in was the protection of the Wells Barkerville corridor
from extensive logging.
Cariboo Regional District was set up to administer ruralš areas. As
the majority of voters under the management of the Cariboo Regional
District were not based in Wells, it meant that quite often decisions
would be made that would affect the population of Wells, even though
it was something that the people of Wells may not have necessarily voted
for. The residents of Wells had very little control over the decisions
made by the CRD and government. Most of the decisions on tax rates and
budgets were set outside of Wells by the CRD. By becoming a municipality
the people of Wells would have more say in what they wanted to happen
in Wells. They would be in charge of administration, recreation, roads,
water, sewer and other services, by voting through a mayor and six councilors.
1971 Wells. PABC10705
1967 the economy of the Wells area has been mostly dependent on the
short tourism season and a small amount of logging. The later 1960šs
and 70šs were a very slow time for the community, when nothing much
seemed to happen. Many of the transient population that had lived in
Wells during the 1960šs had gone and even the local ski hill and jump
now had to complete with a new ski hill at Pine Grove Creek, near Wingdam21.
November 15, 1997, residents voted 92 for and 63 against, for Wells
to incorporate and hence became the newest municipality in British Columbia.
This meant that the Cariboo Regional District would no longer govern
Wells. On June 13, 1998 a mayor (Joseph Jourdain) and six councilors
(Judy Campbell, Barbara Cirotto, Dave Hendrixson, Carol McGregor, Robin
Sharpe and Virginia Wilkins) were voted in, and the inauguration was
held on Monday June 29, 1998.
Jack of Clubs Lake near Wells.
1999, Wells was one of three communities in BC chosen to be "Gateway
Communities" under the British Columbia Parks and Backcountry Gateway
Program. A Gateway Community is defined as "a place of unique character
and charm that is the service or staging area for eco-tourism and adventure
A group of locals representing the private and public sector in Wells,
Barkerville and Bowron Lake joined together to develop a business plan
that came up with a number of projects that the community felt would
help in developing the Gateway concept. These ranged from participating
in local land use planning, to developing stronger links between eco-tourism
and cultural tourism, to developing ways of marketing Wells.
funds received through the Gateway program were used to gain other funds
to support further community development projects. A part-time coordinator
ensures that all projects run smoothly. The end result is expected to
be increased tourism and new business starts in the eco-tourism sector,
leading to a more stable economy in Wells23.
Although Wells is no longer the booming town of the 1930šs and its population
has dwindled from a high of 4,500 to 270 permanent year-round residents
today, it is worth noting that Wells still persists as a lively community.
Many plans are in store for this tiny town especially with projects
like the Gateway program. Input both financially and physically from
various community members who continue to upgrade and improve the infrastructure
in Wells will ensure that the town continues to exist.
The fact that Wells continues to survive is testament to the fact that
Wells is as tenacious as its founder, Fred Wells.
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