Parksville mayor Ed Mayne tries virtual reality for the first time in 2019. The City of Terrace is planning to use VR video and headsets to showcase the Skeena Industrial Park to investors around the world. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Parksville mayor Ed Mayne tries virtual reality for the first time in 2019. The City of Terrace is planning to use VR video and headsets to showcase the Skeena Industrial Park to investors around the world. (Black Press Media File Photo)

Terrace to use virtual reality to sell industrial park to investors

Would allow investors to virtually tour the site from anywhere in the world

The City of Terrace is moving forward with a ‘progressive’ method of attracting future investment at the Skeena Industrial Park.

On April 15, the city published a request for proposal (RFP) for the production of a virtual reality (VR) video highlighting what the park, community and area has to offer to investors. The RFP also includes a request for a dedicated investment website.

Normally, investors and site selectors would need to build a business case for the site, travel to Terrace and view it in person before making further decisions.

When the project is complete — the target for the city is the end of the year — VR headsets offering a virtual tour of the area can be sent by mail around the world.

Virtual reality refers to a computer-generated simulation, where a person can use electronic devices like a headset or goggles to interact with an artificial three-dimensional environment.

“[Investors] can receive the headset in the mail and do a virtual tour of the site as well as the location, the community without that major costs of the and the costs of travelling overseas,” said Deklan Corstanje, Terrace economic development manager.

“And now with COVID-19 limiting travel and face-to-face contact and all these sorts of things, it makes it a possibility to virtually travel to Terrace for these investors and site selectors.”

After completing the virtual tour, the headset would then be mailed back to the city. The idea to use VR as a tool came from the city’s investment attraction strategy, completed in January last year. The budget for the project is $45,000, funded by grants from the Northern Development Initiative Trust and CanExport Community Investments.

Corstanje said the use of VR for tourism and business sectors is more established in the United States, but he has not seen many examples of it being used in B.C.

“I’m excited to see the proposals we get, I’m excited to get this part of the strategy going,” Corstanje said.

“It’s still a long road to bring the investment that will amplify or benefit the existing businesses in town. That’s the end goal and the long term challenge we have but I’m glad we are getting going on this.”

The RFP closes at 2 p.m. on May 24, and is available to view on the City of Terrace’s procurement and contract awards webpage.

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