Chinese powers host Terrace and Kitselas officials
A DELEGATION of Terrace and Kitselas First Nations officials is wooing investors in China this week on a trip partially financed by the Chinese government and several state-controlled companies.
The goal is to sell portions of the 2,400-acre Skeena Industrial Development Park located just south of the Northwest Regional Airport, Terrace mayor Dave Pernarowski said at a city council meeting Nov. 12.
There exist “a number of opportunities including forestry, agriculture or power generation,” Pernarowski said later last week.
The mayor is on the trip with councillors Lynne Christiansen, James Cordeiro and city corporate lands manager Herb Dusdal.
Kitselas chief councillor Joe Bevan, councillors Wilfred Bennett and Judy Gerow and Kitselas chief executive officer Therese Hagen make up the Kitselas portion of the delegation.
The industrial park is located on Kitselas traditional territory and the Kitselas and the city have a joint agreement in which profits from land sales will be shared once expenses have been covered.
Pernarowski said the trip will include visits to manufacturing sites operated by companies who could invest in the Terrace lands to develop their operations.
The trip is to a port city called Qinhuangdao on the north coast of China.
“China is probably the best market that we’ve got to invest in right now and I think one of the things I’ve learned going to China is they love to do business face to face,” said Pernarowski, who has made several business trips to China already for his job as an official with Kitsault Energy formed to promote the former mining town on BC’s north coast as an LNG hub.
“The city is well aware that Terrace is very well-positioned for investment in the industrial park because of our proximity to Asian-Pacific markets,” Pernarowski added.
The mayor did not disclose last week what business groups the delegation is meeting with, saying they would not do so until a deal is worked out.
He said that upon its return, the delegation will report to council on whether or not it was successful in negotiating the purchase or lease of the city lands, at which point the names of the parties involved will be revealed.
The trip, which was planned back in September, was not announced until Nov. 12.
Costs per Terrace delegate of mostly airfare are estimated at $1,800 with accommodation and other arrangements covered by the delegation’s hosts.
The money is coming from revenues already realized through the sale of portions of the industrial park.
“The [Chinese] government sets up organizations or entities ... so certainly the state is involved in hosting,” said Pernarowksi, about the cost being partly financed on the Chinese side, including hiring an interpreter.
Terrace councillors decided among themselves as to who would make the trip, said city chief administrative officer Heather Avison.
The delegation left Nov. 16 and returns this Saturday.
Earlier this year the city sold a small portion of the industrial park to Global Dewatering, a company who will use it mostly for storage of industrial equipment.
And Calgary-based Veresen, an energy company, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the city which could lead to the purchase of land on which to build a natural-gas fired power generating plant.