Sunday, September 14, 2008

Prince Rupert prepares to host the Southeast conference

At last count over somewhere between 115 and 200 guests were anticipated for this years Southeast Conference, the annual gathering of Southeastern Alaska leaders and residents that examines shared interests and opportunities for their respective communities.

Prince Rupert has been an invited guest for a number of years now, and once again takes to the hosting duties for three days of conferences, seminars and information sessions, designed to help the regions member communities take advantage of the location and resources of Southeast Alaska.

This years conference from September 16-18, will have a heavy emphasis on the Port of Prince Rupert and the recently opened Container Port at Fairview. A number of port and industry representatives are expected to provide presentations at the conference, to highlight the shipping options that Prince Rupert could provide for our neighbours to the north.

The annual meeting will be preceded by a Export Trade Conference on Monday the 15th, which will provide more information on regional opportunities for delegates to the conference, as well as the general public.

The usual slate of receptions and luncheons and such will follow during the conference as Prince Rupert showcases it's port and the North coast's hospitality for those from just up the coast.

The Alaska Public Radio Network has a preview of the conference posted on its website, while the Daily News provided some information on the coming sessions earlier this week.

The Northern View also had some background on the events with a couple of items posted to their website this week as well, which we provide below.

Ties to Southeast more important than ever: Pond
By Shaun Thomas - The Northern View
Published: September 09, 2008 11:00 PM

Just one day after the 2008 Export Trade Conference residents of Southeast Alaska will gather at Chances for the three day Southeast Conference, a conference that allows people in the region to come together and discuss issues important to them.

With a significant line-up of speakers set to address issues like economic development, tourism, resource conservation and development, fisheries, timber, energy and transportation, the conference has drawn over 100 attendees so far, according to the conference’s Sarah Henderson.

“We have 112 people registered for the conference, and out of those 71 are going down a day early for the 2008 Trade Export conference. But we in Alaska like to do things at the last minute so I anticipate those numbers will go up in the coming week,” she said.

“We try to hit on all of the topics important to Southeast Alaska and really give people an update on what is going on in the region.”

As well as a reception Monday evening to mark the end of the Export Trade Conference and the start of the Southeast Conference, the City of Prince Rupert, the District of Port Edward and the Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a reception for the delegates on Tuesday evening at North Pacific Cannery.

While acknowledging the efforts of the people who are planning the local portions of the event, Mayor Herb Pond added that the election south of the border adds a bit to the importance of the conference.

“I’d remind everyone that Southeast Alaska is [Republican Vice-presidential nominee] Sarah Palin’s home area and these are the people that know her, work with her and in many cases campaigned for her as governor.”

“We actually invited her to speak and when she declined I said I wouldn’t be surprised to see her on the ballot,” he added jokingly.

Export Trade Conference links Northwest with Alaska
By Shaun Thomas - The Northern View
Published: September 09, 2008 11:00 PM

The streets of Prince Rupert will be a bit busier beginning this Monday as a full four days of conferences gets underway, conferences that include more than a little international flavour.

The 2008 Export Trade Conference, which focuses on bringing together people from Southeast Alaska with people from throughout the Northwest corridor to examine how to make the most of the opportunities presented by the container port at Fairview Terminal, will take place on September 15. The event is broken up into two sets of speakers separated by a trade show or a tour of the terminal.

The first set of speakers, which includes Port Authority President and CEO Don Krusel, Maher Canada GM Mark Schepp, Richard Miller of CN and Chief John Helin of the Coast Tsimshian, will look at the current state of the terminal and the opportunities and expectations when it comes to export. The afternoon session, which includes Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters board chair Dr. David Fung, Trade Commissioner with the Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade Meera Bawa and Export Development Canada Senior Account Manager Tom Prowse, will bring an international experience and perspective to the export opportunities at the terminal.

“We are getting a good response from around the Northwest of delegates attending as well as a good number of delegates from southeast Alaska that are coming in a day early for the conference, so I really hope there will be a significant exchange of business cards and information from people in these two corridors that intersect in our community,” said conference spokesperson and Prince Rupert Mayor Herb Pond.

“I’m impressed with the local team of volunteers that stepped forward to organize the event. It’s really a partnership between Prince Rupert, Port Edward, Metlakatla and Lax Kw’alaams, and the Metlakatla Development Corporation and Chamber of Commerce have also been heavily involved…I’m celebrating having these communities working so closely on these things. It really is a North Coast effort.”

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