Wells is a small historic Gold Rush era community situated near the Barkerville National Historic Site that offers a range of unique tourism experiences throughout the year. Many people have chosen to live in Wells where residents can get away from the hectic pace of the city and take up a better lifestyle. With a winter population of 240 residents that triples during the busy summer tourism season, Wells is becoming famous as a destination for the arts, for heritage and for outdoor adventure.
In 2005, the District of Wells completed an economic development and tourism marketing initiative that included advertising and promotion for Wells, Barkerville, and the Bowron Lakes area. The funding provided to support this project has also been utilized to provide the community access to high speed broadband internet. Local businesses are now tapping into online sales and marketing that offers a new area of economic growth for the community.
The $107,000 grant from Northern Development contributed to the restoration of historic buildings, festival site development, marketing initiatives, signage, and the construction of the community's Gateway Park.
"I think it's fair to say that our new high speed internet infrastructure has helped keep businesses alive and bring renewed life to Wells. I like to say we are an eclectic mix of old miners, artists, semi-retired people and now young families."
Sundance Topham, former Chief Administration Officer, District of Wells
"Internet service gave local businesses in Wells the opportunity to promote themselves and do business in ways they weren't able to before this project."
Bob Allen, Owner, ABC Communications
Positive Economic Impacts in Wells
The tourism infrastructure improvements led by the District of Wells have had significant positive impacts on the local economy and surrounding areas such as Barkeville and the Bowron Lakes. As a result of the improvements, the District of Wells reports that there have been seven permanent full-time positions, sixteen seasonal full-time positions, and two part-time seasonal jobs created. Small businesses have been the primary beneficiaries of the increase in visitor numbers as a result of the improvements and, when considered as a whole, are the major local employers.
A key component of the economic development marketing initiative plan is also reflected in the development of alternative business opportunities with high-speed internet applications and the retention of population, especially young families and retirees. With broadband access, a growing number of local artisans and gallery owners promote their work year round to national and international audiences. Locally developed websites are continuing to entice tourists to Wells, BC.
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