Jim Sinclair photos
According to Castlegar Fire Chief Gerry Rempel the people of Embetsu, Japan take their sister-city arrangement with the City of Castlegar very seriously. They are part of a very respectful society, says the chief, who was part of the last local delegation to visit the Northern Japanese town.
Judging by the turnout at West Kootenay Regional Airport on Friday, August 9, the feeling is mutual.
Dozens of people of all ages were on hand to extend a warm welcome the group of students whose plane touched down just before 4 p.m.
Planned for the group is a full slate of tours and activities before it departs on Wednesday, August 14.
The following is a bit of history on the twinning program, courtesy of the City of Castlegar:
“In 1989, representatives of the City of Castlegar and Selkirk College visited Embetsu to sign a Sister City agreement. Since then there have been several visits of adults between the two communities. In 1998, the Castlegar-Embetsu Educational Exchange Program, a program of youth exchange began with a group of eight students traveling from Castlegar to Embetsu. In 1999 Castlegar welcomed six students from Embetsu.
“The Town of Embetsu* is located on the northern tip of the island of Hokkaido, Japan and has a population of 4,000 citizens. Agriculture, one of the township’s key industries, has prospered by focusing on rice production. Embetsu has become well established as an important food producing area in Hokkaido. Other agricultural products are melons, asparagus and Japanese radishes. Scallops, flatfish, octopi, mottled skate and salmon are the leading commercial species fished in Embetsu. Tourist attractions in Embetsu include various parks, the Fujimi Road Station, the Restaurant Tongarikan, the Asahi Hot Spring and the Local History Museum.”