TERRACE MAYOR Dave Pernarowski has returned from a nine-day trip to China sponsored by a Chinese-based timber supply company interested in expanding operations to the Terrace area.
The Chairman of Yaroun Wood Company Ltd., Guiying Liu, which holds a number of B.C. Timber Licences and owns a chipper mill in Hazelton, invited the mayor and his wife to China to see the company’s Chinese operations and to meet with government officials, business leaders, tourism operators and school administrators.
“I had a very successful nine days promoting Terrace and our region,” said Pernarowski of the late August trip. “While we didn’t fly first class, we were treated like royalty everywhere we went in China.”
Yaorun covered the majority of the cost of the trip, said Pernarowski, with he and his wife paying a portion of the expenses.
The full cost of the trip will be reported on the municipal documents that track gifts received by the mayor and council, he said.
The mayor met Liu through local immigration consultant Adam Tang, who acted as Lui’s interpreter during Lui’s initial trip to Terrace and during the five days Lui toured with the mayor in China.
“[Lui] owns log sorting yards and numerous wood processing facilities in China around the port city of Lianyungang,” said Pernarowski, noting that he watched B.C. logs arrive at the port.
Yaorun Wood is “very interested in expanding his operations to the Skeena Industrial Park where he could have a log sorting yard and an expanded high-tech wood processing plant,” he said.
The province confirmed that the company is looking to set up shop in Terrace.
“Yaroun is in the process of acquiring one timber sale licence near Terrace and may bid on others as they come up in the timber sales licence schedule,” said Vivian Thomas, communications manager with the forest ministry.
During the trip, the mayor also met with Teddy Cui, the owner of Terrace’s Skeena Sawmills who also owns a log sorting yard in the Lianyungang Port.
He toured two heavy equipment manufacturing facilities, spent one afternoon with two young Chinese students who wanted the experience of speaking with English people, and toured a middle school and a secondary school where he discussed English as a Second Language program opportunities he will pass along to the school board.
The mayor also met with travel agencies in Vancouver and Beijing who specialize in Chinese clients.
“There were a number of companies I met with that expressed interest in the major project activity in the regions and indicated they would like to come see our city first hand,” he said.
“There are also some easy steps we could take to attract many of the Chinese tourists that currently land in Vancouver and typically stay in the lower mainland.”
The trip ended with meetings with immigration and education consultants in Shanghai, a city with a population about the same size as Canada.
“The scale of development going on in China is actually hard to describe other than to say it’s massive,” said Pernarowski.
He said the trip was a unique opportunity for him to see what is happening in China with his own eyes and identify areas that could benefit the community and surrounding northwest area.