City of Williams Lake Mayor Walt Cobb (centre) and Canada Asia Economic and Culture Association president May He (right) sign a memorandum of understanding Thursday at city hall. Joining them are Franco Huang (left), Rabina Sattur, CRD chair Margo Wagner, Anna Wu, Alex Arbetov, WLIB chief Willie Sellars, city councillors Laurie Walters, Jason Ryll and Scott Nelson. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Williams Lake and Canada Asia Economic and Culture Association sign MOU

The three-year agreement will see both sides discussing the development of opportunities in education, cultural exchange, tourism, film production and other business investments

A three-year memorandum of understanding aimed at promoting the Williams Lake area and attracting international investment from Asia was signed at city hall Thursday, Oct. 4.

Outlined within the MOU between the City of Williams Lake and Canada Asia Economic and Culture Association (CAECA) the main priorities are film production, international tourism, exploring an international high school and expanding opportunities for international students at Thompson Rivers University Williams Lake and other projects of common interest to both parties.

“We’ve been working hard over the last year to establish a relationship with an organization that has similar values to ours in Williams Lake and we look forward to working with the association to develop opportunities that will see smart and responsible development in our community,” Mayor Walt Cobb said before the signing. “We see possibilities in our rich, natural environment to promote tourism and we look forward to learning more today about bringing film production to the area so that we can tell the story of our magnificent landscape and unlimited outdoor pursuits available within our region.”

May He, CAECA president, described the MOU signing as an “historical” moment.

“Every partnership is about people and this is my third visit to Williams Lake,” she said after she signed the MOU. “All of our team is totally impressed by the leadership of Williams Lake.”

Why Williams Lake?

He said she has experience in education, film production and Olympic sports and was invited as a visiting professor to do research on economic development at Stanford University in California.

As a result, she developed an integrated model of pursuing cultural tourism.

“I feel Williams Lake is ideal for that model. As an educator I see potential to attract more students to TRU in Williams Lake.

Read more: Stockmanship workshop teaches TRU students livestock handling

She also outlined a plan to feature Williams Lake in the Into Wild British Columbia local film productions that will be shown on TV in China and streamed online and seen by millions of viewers in Asia.

CAECA is a registered non-profit society based in Vancouver with a mission to bridge B.C., with special focus of the rural areas, to Asian markets, especially China.

“We see an affordable lifestyle here and that is nowadays what people are looking for,” He said. “In our eyes Williams Lake is the future star.”

Cobb said the representative of People’s Republic of China, Consulate Vancouver was expected to attend the event, however was unable to fly in Thursday.

Read more: Cannabis and film industry investors visit Williams Lake

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