Creston Mayor Ron Toyota is a long way from home this week.
On Monday he flew westward, part of an economic delegation that is repaying a visit by South Koreans last year. Toyota joins a group that includes Cranbrook Mayor Wayne Stetsky. A two-day stopover in Taicang, China, will include exploration of lumber and coal opportunities, and meetings will include Shanghai-based representatives from Teck and Canfor.
“I’m not sure what might come out of this tour,” Toyota said. “But I am convinced that presenting ourselves as a region and not a bunch of small communities is the best way to go.”
In South Korea, the visiting Canadians will be based in Wonju.
“We would like to explore international education, tourism, alternative energy technologies, particularly solar power and agriculture, and a possible center of excellence for College of the Rockies,” said Kevin Weaver, Cranbrook’s business and economic development manager.
On the return trip, Toyota is leaving the group to make a visit to Creston’s sister city, Kaminoho, Japan. Kaminoho no longer has a local government and the small farming and forestry community falls under the jurisdiction of nearby Seki City.
Toyota, born in B.C. and of Japanese heritage, has visited Japan as a businessman, but this will be his first trip to the Kaminoho area.