Intern Chelsea Dunk on her six months in “magical” Wells, B.C.

November 3, 2015

“Building a Stronger North” is exactly what local government management intern Chelsea Dunk is doing during her year-long internship with Northern Development in Wells and Quesnel. Chelsea is one of seven local government management interns who are out in northern communities working hard and gaining practical experience in Northern B.C.’s municipalities and regional districts. Chelsea recently completed a six-month stint in the small Cariboo community of Wells, and has since moved west to Quesnel to learn the ropes in a larger community.

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Economic Development Intern Will George caught up with Chelsea via telephone as she was moving from one place to another:

Q:  Why did you initially apply to become an intern?

A: I was intrigued by one of my professors at University of Northern British Columbia (UNBC) who referred to political science as the study of the question, “how do we live together?” The local government management internship seemed like a great opportunity to learn what that study looks like in practice. I get to learn first-hand how people come together to shape their community through representative municipal governance.

Q: What is the number one thing you learned in Wells?

A: The smaller the town, the wider the range of work you get to do in local government. There are not enough people for each staff member to function as a true specialist, so everyone here is a jack-of-all-trades. I’ve appreciated getting a sense of the variety of issues that local governments are asked to take responsibility for, and the number of factors that have to be taken into consideration in making decisions … it is always interesting. 

Q: What’s your favourite thing about Wells?

A: Everything! My dad came to visit and he called Wells “magical” (and he’s not a guy for flowery language). Wells has a unique way of combining mining history with fresh creativity and a sense of adventure. There’s a culture here that encourages people to take a chance at carving out their own idea of a good life.

Q: How has Northern Development worked with the District of Wells to make a difference in the local economy?

A: Northern Development has helped the District of Wells with a wide range of economic development projects that would otherwise be much harder for a small community to execute alone. Initiatives like trail expansions and civic building upgrades help Wells attract residents and visitors by creating more opportunities to come out and enjoy the community and its stunning surroundings. For example, I’ve been working on Love Wells, a [shop local to promote the area]. The site isn’t projected to launch until late September, but locals are already getting to know more about their local small businesses as a result of the project.

Q: What’s your plan post-internship?

A: My plan is to keep working toward realizing my goal of living in North/Central B.C. and contributing to its ongoing development as a place where people of all ages and backgrounds can enjoy a high quality of life. 

Facts about Chelsea