The District of Wells was awarded a $10,000 B.C. Rural Dividend grant in January, to help with the beautification and marketing of the Historic Wells Cemetery.
The B.C. Rural Dividend program, up to $10,000 is available for rural communities to put toward larger community projects.
The grant is distributed through the Ministry of Forests, Lands, Natural Resource Operations and Rural Development, and is part of $673,124 being given to projects around B.C.
“It takes a lot of hard work to develop ideas that can stimulate local prosperity and create jobs for small communities,” said Doug Donaldson, the Minister of FLNRORD, in a press release. “Rural citizens are resourceful, and the calibre of these project development applications reflects their ingenuity and commitment to community development.”
In Wells, Wylie Bystedt, the Economic Development Officer and Deputy Finance Officer, says the grant is needed for upgrading and maintenance on the cemetery, as well as to allow them to do a better job marketing it as both a historic site and a community resource.
Bystedt says she isn’t sure exactly how old the cemetery is, but that “there are a lot of early pioneer families from Wells who are located there.”
She clarifies that the cemetery in question is the historic cemetery, and not the one that is currently being used by the District. She says the District wants the historic cemetery to be an attractive place for people to visit.
“Barkerville has done a great job with maintaining and cleaning and marketing their cemetery,” she says, “and so we want to be able to ensure that ours is of equal stature.”
Funding for cemeteries is not commonly available, adds Bystedt.
“It’s difficult to actually get grants that are specifically targeted at cemeteries, and so being able to apply to the Rural Dividend Fund for this kind of activity was a real boon for the community.”