Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Southeast Conference making plans for September conference in Prince Rupert

In just a bit over six weeks time, the City of Prince Rupert will be playing host to the annual gathering of the Southeast Conference,as Prince Rupert takes its turn as host of the alliance of Alaska communities which includes the sole British Columbia representative from Prince Rupert.

The 2015 Conference is taking place from September 15 to 17 and as the planning moves forward, the discussion panels, workshops and other working groups are being put together to make the most of the three days that the visitors from the north will be in the city.

The majority of the three days of discussions and workshops will be taking place at the North Coast Convention Centre, with Prince Rupert Mayor Lee Brain and Southeast Conference President Patricia Phillips providing the opening address on the Tuesday morning

Among some of the topics that are in the works for the three day Agenda: Cross Border partnerships, an International Expo featuring discussions on LNG opportunities, a review of AMHS issues, a workshop on Building a sustainable future and discussions on Preparing the Alaskan economy for 2020.

A first draft of the proposed Agenda can be reviewed here.

While the delegates are here, a number of trips are also being planned to showcase some of the industrial developments of the region as well as other aspects of what Prince Rupert and Port Edward have to offer.

Delegates will wrap up their time on the North Coast with the closing banquet, scholarship auction and election of the 2016 Board of Directors.

In order to shuttle delegates to Prince Rupert from Ketchikan, the Alaskan airline Taquan Air will be flying between the two communities through the week, as well delegates can take advantage of the opportunity to use the Alaska Marine Highway System to transit to Prince Rupert.

That could provide a welcome opportunity for the Southeast Conference members to impress upon the Alaska government officials of the value of the transportation link between Prince Rupert and Ketchikan, perhaps even making use of the conference to push for increased service between the two communities.

As well, with both Alaska state officials and representatives of the Federal Government to be in attendance during the conference,  North Coast residents could possibly receive an update on the stalled renovation plans for the Alaska Marine Highway Terminal in Prince Rupert.

Some background on the issues related to the Alaska Marine Highway and engagement with Prince Rupert can be found here.

Beyond the opportunity to exchange ideas and discuss issues of mutual concern up and down the Pacific Northwest coast, the Conference will be an economic boost to the Prince Rupert economy, with hotel reservations and restaurants to feel the most impact of the three day visit from the neighbours.

You can track developments leading up to the September sessions through the Southeast Conference website.

The page dedicated to the Prince Rupert session can be found here.

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