A delegation led by the City of Terrace left for China May 8 to visit with officials from the economic development zone which purchased nearly 1,200 acres at the city’s Skeena Industrial Development Park in 2014.
Also on the trip are officials from the city’s development park partner, the Kitselas First Nation, and officials from the Coast Mountains School District and Northwest Community College, all travelling to the Chinese city of Qinhuangdao and the Qinhuangdao Economic and Technological Development Zone.
The trip is a follow up to a visit by Chinese officials here last November which featured the signing of a friendship agreement to broaden economic, cultural and educational ties.
To date, the Qinhuangdao zone is about to start drilling for water on the lands it purchased in Terrace, where it hopes to attract Chinese-owned enterprises to set up shop here.
On the trip are mayor Carol Leclerc along with city councillors Brian Downie, Stacey Tyers and Michael Prevost.
The Kitselas are represented by Kitselas First Nation chief councillor Joe Bevan and Jim Dopson from the Kitselas Development Corporation.
The Coast Mountains School District is being represented by superintendent Katherine McIntosh and Janet Meyer, one of its directors of instruction.
Northwest Community College’s student success director Holly Hovland and the college’s academic head, Gord Weary, round out the delegation.
Three days are being spent in Qinhuangdao and two days in Beijing, touring the Chinese capital.
Also on the trip are representatives from Burnaby-based Taisheng International Investments which is acting for the Qinhuangdao development zone in Canada.
Expenses in China are being covered by the delegation’s Chinese hosts while travel and associated costs are the responsibility of those on the tour.
City officials estimate the cost for the mayor and three councillors is $1,500 each.
This is the fourth trip made by local officials to Qinhuangdao since their relationship began with the signing of an initial memorandum of understanding in 2013.
Based in Burnaby, Taisheng International Investment Services, purchased the $11.8 million land in 2014 on behalf of the Qinhuangdao Economic Development Zone.
Speaking before the trip, Leclerc said she was looking forward to broadening ties with the development zone and others.
“We’re looking forward to hearing updates,” she said.
“It’s going to be really good to get the lay of the land,” Leclerc added of an anticipated tour of the development zone.
She was also looking forward to the discussions that the school district and college would have about attracting students here.
“I think there are plenty of opportunities for cultural and other exchanges,” said Leclerc.
The itinerary for the trip features meetings and discussions with a wide variety of Chinese economic development officials, politicians and educators.
Included are site tours of various establishments, including schools, and attending an exhibition highlighting the 30th anniversary of the Qinhuangdao Economic Development Zone.
There’s a briefing on planned developments for at the Qinhuangdao property here and a banquet with municipal officials from Qinhuangdao.
Tours of Tiananamen Square, a national museum, the Great Wall and the Forbidden City will take up the delegation’s time during two days spent in Beijing.
Educators on the trip from the Coast Mountains School District and Northwest Community College are to have a separate session with an official from the provincial government’s investment and trade office in Beijing who specializes in educational marketing. The delegation returns May 15.