Is Nelson ready for another sister?

The City of Nelson could be adding another sister city to its roster.

The City of Nelson could be adding another sister city to its roster.

During a presentation by the Nelson and District Chamber of Commerce at Monday’s committee of the whole meeting, Tom Thomson said the chamber is looking at the possibility of adding Sandpoint, Idaho to Nelson’s sister cities.

“This initiative was originally brought to the chamber as an organization that can take the lead in trying to make this sister city initiative happen through Whitewater,” said Thomson. “Whitewater and Schweitzer Mountain Ski Resort down in Idaho, they’ve got a reciprocal skiing agreement in place now.”

Nelson currently has two sister cities: Izushi, Japan and Baie-Saint-Paul, Quebec.

“We think that there are some good opportunities with Sandpoint, and not to discount the other sister cities because they are very important initiatives, this one I think can have some more economic impact to our community in the tourism sector for sure,” said Thomson.

Sandpoint is about a two and a half hour drive from Nelson, which Thomson said opens up a variety of tourism opportunities between the two communities.

“We thought there are some good synergies here between Nelson and Sandpoint as far as the towns we have there is good tourism opportunities, and cultural exchange opportunities,” he said.

Thomson said Neil Harrower — executive director of the Capitol Theatre — expressed interest in the new sister city initiative because of the possibility of touring acts travelling over the boarder between Nelson, Metalline Falls and Sandpoint.

In the fall, Thomson along with representatives from city council, chamber and the Destination Marketing Organization met with a delegation from Sandpoint.

“At that time we decided we should wait until after the 2011 election and wait until the new council is in place and then we’ll bring it back to council formerly and see if we can move this thing forward,” he said.

The Chamber is preparing a proposal to the city, but said one obstacle is the current sister city policy which limits Nelson’s sister cities to two.

“The only concern I think that they had at that time is that there is a policy in place to only have two sister cities and we have the one in Japan and the one in Quebec, but we’ll put this proposal together and say that maybe there is an opportunity for the administration to take a look at the possibility of adding another sister city, maybe on a trial basis,” said Thomson.