The Quesnel Cariboo Observer contacted the mayor of Wells, Ed Coleman, for his views on the year that was and his expectations for the year ahead. These were his thoughts (edited for newspaper format).
Looking back, 2022 opened with a by-election for the District of Wells (DOW) council that needed three more councillors and a mayor.
Once the new council was in place, the work began.
Council developed a concise business plan that is updated twice a month.
Council also identified 36 projects to invest in with its partners: Indigenous nations, other regional local governments and municipalities, the Province of BC, Government of Canada, Union of BC Municipalities, Northern Development Initiative Trust, the Wells Community Forest board, and industry—especially West Fraser Mills and Osisko Development’s Cariboo Gold Project.
Larger projects include the outdoor covered skating rink, the Wells Barkerville Community Cultural and Recreation Centre (WBCRC) and other District of Wells facilities upgrades.
There was a project with BC Hydro for residents, where participating residents received complimentary upgrades for energy efficiency. The residents helped the DOW meet its target of 90 households, resulting in a $15,000 additional investment in LED lighting for the WBCRC.
The District of Wells also assessed all of its infrastructure and facilities, and engaged in Official Community Plan consultation and Wildfire and Structural Fire Assessments.
We also had another election in October 2022, which established a new council with three incumbents and two new councillors.
Looking ahead, 2023 will bring the following:
Relationship development with Lhtako Dene Nation and other Indigenous partners; completion of the outdoor covered skating rink (50 by 100 feet) by August 2023; potential significant upgrades to the Wells Barkerville Community Cultural and Recreation Centre with a donation of $250,000 from Osisko Developments and the prospect of a partnership with the Province of BC for Phase 1 and part of Phase 2 of the renovation project; implementation of Wildfire and Structure Fire Protection recommendations from two comprehensive reports; design of an upgraded $5- to $7-million sewer treatment system; design of an upgraded water system, and maintenance of the current system in the meantime; hearing from the Province of B.C. on the outcome of the Osisko Developments Cariboo Gold Project – a multi-million-dollar project that has been planned since 2015, and has been going through a rigorous environmental assessment process for the past three years; develop a Community Agreement with Osisko Developments for the Cariboo Gold Project; and there will also be much more.
The community has worked hard on working together for the future of Wells, BC.
We thank all, and wish all a great 2023.