City sending delegates to China, Korea

Mayor Stetski off to Asia with Coun. Diana Scott, Economic Development Officer Kevin Weaver, and other delegates from around the Kootenays.

Mayor Wayne Stetski will be accompanied by Coun. Diana Scott and Kevin Weaver, the city’s economic development officer, as well as seven other representatives from across the Kootenays.

Coun. Denise Palleson recommended that it be Scott who went.

“She has a good history in Cranbrook, she has a good understanding of the economics that keep the city and the area moving. She’s been involved heavily with the Chamber of Commerce over the years, so she understands business, she understands tourism. She’s been a journalist here, so she understands a little bit about everything.”

Coun. Bob Whetham noted he was not altogether comfortable with council sending another delegate on top of the mayor and EDO as the provincial funding was already accounted for.

Coun. Sharon Cross agreed with Whetham, saying that the city was hard pressed to come up with money for Canada Day celebrations.

Kevin Weaver, the economic development officer, explained that it was important to have a strong representation on the trip.

“You have to remember that we’re still small players with the communities that we’re dealing with in Asia,” Weaver said. “Having a bit more presence emphasizes that Cranbrook is taking this seriously.”

Coun. Gerry Warner said he would support a councillor going as long as it was for the purpose of meeting the expectation of the host communities.

Weaver said the delegation would be regarded as a smaller size when compared to most Korean or Chinese delegations.

Coun. Angus Davis said he was in support of Scott going.

Palleson noted the importance of relationship building for those other communities.

“I don’t think we’re used to taking this kind of time to develop a relationship before we get down to the business side of things,” she said. “It’s a learning curve for us but I think we should follow their lead.”

The motion to send a councillor along with the delegation passed.

The mayor asked if any other councillors were interested in going. No one else came forward so Councillor Scott it will be.

The mayors of Kimberley and Creston are planning to attend as well as a number of business representatives from Teck, CanFor and Galloway, of which Teck has confirmed.

According to city administration’s report, the focus on the China portion of the trip is natural resource exports, post-secondary training through the College of the Rockies and bringing more tourism to the Kootenays.

In Korea, the focus is more on education and tourism, as Wonju is a technologically-advanced green community with a focus on alternate energy solutions.

Cranbrook will be represented in China and Korea next month as two members of council join a delegation to those countries.

The delegation is to build on the relationship with two cities in particular, Wonju, Korea and Taicang, China that began as part of the provincial government’s Asia Pacific Initiative. The province put forward $50,000 regionally for the initiative with the expectation that Cranbrook take a regional lead in the matter.

The initiative sets out to boost B.C.’s economic prosperity by “increasing trade, investment and knowledge collaboration with the economic drivers of the 21st century.”