Miki Town holds future benefits
A recurring topic some residents have been bringing up at several past discussions and meetings with the town is the concern over the Japan twinning project that the Town of Didsbury is currently involved in with Miki Town.
However, according to Mayor Brian Wittal, the twinning has gone “beyond” successful student exchanges, and poses as a beneficial, long-term opportunity for the town.
One project with Miki Town that has been in the works since 2008 is the Les Gants fashion gloves, which are now in the works to be distributed in North America, with Didsbury making roughly $300,000 (300,000 yen) for three years in royalties.
Part of these funds could be used towards paying for expenses for future trips, Wittal said.
“We’re talking with parents of students on the exchange to start up a group organization as well,” said Wittal in regards to other fundraising efforts for the twinning trips.
Didsbury will also be playing host to the Alberta-Japan twinning conference next year with between 40 and 50 community representatives in attendance.
The town will be inviting some individuals from Miki Town for the conference as well, including the mayor, CEO of Les Gants Tadashin Sunagawa and Miki Town’s economic development committee.
“It’s gone past the twinning,” said Wittal about working on prospective economic opportunities with Miki Town. “We want to show them what is happening in Central Alberta, and take them to individual businesses. We want to give them some good insight about what’s in the area. It may be a fit for them as investors.”
Wittal was adamant that part of why the town is continuing with the twinning program is because of the benefits it potentially has for Didsbury.
“There’s great potential opportunity there. Some criticize that we should stay closer to home,” said Wittal. “There’s future opportunity here. We believe there is potential in the long term and that it’s worth it, especially if we can get this glove program going.”
“When they come to you and suggest economic opportunities, how do you say no?” added Wittal. “The relationship is there with them and they are willing to talk business. I certainly see what residents are saying, they see it as a holiday for us, but it is strictly business.”