Summerland’s recent Sister City delegation to Toyokoro, Japan cost the municipality more than $8,000 as the municipality picked up the tab for two members of council and one staff member.
Mayor Janice Perrino, Coun. Orv Robson and municipal planner Ian McIntosh were among the 19 people who participated in the Sister City visit. The cost for each of the municipality’s representatives was $2,750, including flights and accommodations while in Japan.
The total for these three people came to $8,250.
The municipality did not pay for a spouse’s travel costs.
McIntosh said the municipality did not pay for the members of Summerland’s Sister City Committee, five students including members of Summerland’s royalty or members of the public who were part of the delegation.
“Of the 19 who went, three were paid,” McIntosh said.
He added that the visit was a chance for Summerland delegates to learn about Japan and to examine ideas which may be possible here.
“For the value we received, I’d say it was well worth it,” McIntosh said.
He said the delegates were able to see some of Toyokoro’s developments and projects during various excursions during the trip.
In addition, the cultural exchanges over the years have been worthwhile.
McIntosh said one Toyokoro resident, who visited Summerland when she was 15, spoke to this year’s delegates and thanked them for the experience. Now 37, she said the visit to Summerland was a life-changing experience for her.
During this year’s trip, Chris McIntosh, a Grade 2 teacher at Giant’s Head School, brought a banner which was made by her students to present to the people of Toyokoro.
During the visit, videos were created for her Summerland students. The videos can be seen on YouTube.com.
Darlene Forsdick of Summerland’s Sister City Committee said the ongoing ties between Summerland and Toyokoro are important for both communities.
“These visits bring with them the opportunity to strengthen international ties and form cultural bonds that will seat firmly in the minds of their children and ours,” she said.
The Sister City agreement between Summerland and Toyokoro was signed in 1994. Since that time, 101 adults and 39 students from Summerland have visited Toyokoro, while 203 people, 114 of them students, have come from Toyokoro to Summerland.
A delegation from Toyokoro will be in Summerland next August.