Monday, July 14, 2008

Large representation from Rupert at Ketchikan July 4th holiday festivities

A sizeable delegation of Prince Rupert residents made the trip to Ketchikan last week to take part in the 4th July festivities put on by Prince Rupert’s sister city.

With the Mayor and an honour guard of Mounties along to show the flag taking part in the 4th of July parade, the City of Prince Rupert provided a float for the event, while members of the Chamber of Commerce explored the city to share in America’s birthday party and to pick up a few tidbits of information on tourism that are being used in the Gateway city.

The Daily News featured details of the cross border cavalcade in Friday’s paper.

Rupert representatives fly the flag
Delegation gets warm welcome at Ketchikan's July 4 festivities
By Kris Schumacher
The Daily News
Friday, July 11, 2008
Pages one and five

Local community leaders got a warm welcome from the people of Ketchikan, Alaska, last week when they dropped in to partake in the Independence Day celebrations and to continue building relationships with Prince Rupert's northern neighbours.

Representatives from the City of Prince Rupert, the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce and the local RCMP detachment all traveled to Prince Rupert's sister city on July 4 for what turned out to be a great experience for everyone involved.

"It was just amazing being there for the celebration, and to see the many similarities between us and Ketchikan," said Const. Krista Vrolyk, who accompanied two Prince Rupert RCMP Constables who were dressed in red surge and who walked in the parade.

"It was pretty impressive to see that as Mayor Pond and the Prince Rupert float were going by, people in the crowd were saying: "Thanks for coming Prince Rupert, we love you Rupert!"

"So, it was really well received by the citizens of Ketchikan and the people from the four cruise ships that were there as well."

Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond said the American parade onlookers were clearly more excited to see the Mounties there than seeing him, but later meetings with Alaskan mayors and other officials were also positive connections for the people of Prince Rupert.

"It was just a real good way to continue building the relationship with our sister city of Ketchikan, and, in fact, with Southeast Alaska," said Pond.

"This visit and the upcoming Southeast Conference we're hosting are just part of the ongoing work the city has done for years to grow those relationships with our neighbours to the north who we share so much in common with.

Both Ketchikan and Rupert have island airports, and there are so many more similarities in our industries and history as well."

Deb Stava, president of the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce said she was very impressed with her first visit to Ketchikan.

Stava said it was a pleasure to meet with members of the Ketchikan Chamber of Commerce and get a brief look at how their tourism industry operates.

"It's an amazing little place. We got to see their transportation infrastructure and look at what they have in place to support their cruise and other tourism industries," said Stava.

"They're only a population of about 8,000 and yet they service four to six cruise ships a day. It's absolutely amazing. People hop off the ship and they have all kinds of adventure opportunities, like lumberjack shows and duck-boat and totem pole tours."

Stava said Prince Rupert is obviously interested in learning everything it can from Ketchikan about their experience in developing cruise offerings and supporting tourism in a small city. With the Southeast Conference Annual Meeting being planned to take place in Prince Rupert for three days this September, there will be many more opportunities for the city to network with and learn from other Alaskan cities and municipalities to explore ways to work together on similar issues. The Southeast Conference annually attracts approximately 250 delegates from Alaska, and it is Stava's hope and the Prince Rupert and District Chamber of Commerce intention that delegates from British Columbia's Northwest corridor will be willing and able to attend the conference as well.

"We'll be looking to engage our chambers and stakeholders along the corridor with the chambers from Southeast Alaska when they're here, because we're keenly interested in the marine highway," said Stava.

"So we're waiting to hear back about how we can open those doors. We're going to hold our regular membership meeting in September and we've got the 2010 province-wide meeting coming up, so we are going to open those up to members from the Alaskan conference as well."

The City of Prince Rupert and the Chamber of Commerce are currently working together to plan activities for the day preceding the Southeast Conference, such as tours of the port and other places of interest and lining up keynote speakers.

"We see this as an opportunity not just to connect Prince Rupert more with the Southeast Conference, but the corridor," said Pond.

"And the port opportunities, both north-south and east-west. We see ourselves as being at the centre of these crossroads and we're hoping to bring people together, all the way from Edmonton to Haines and Skagway."

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