Hepner heading to China with premier, may sniff out LRT investment for Surrey

Surrey mayor will spend $20,000 to join Premier Christy Clark's delegation on trade mission to China

Surrey Mayor Linda Hepner is headed to China with Premier Christy Clark later this month.

SURREY — Mayor Linda Hepner is heading to China at the end of October for a week-long trade mission with Premier Christy Clark.

The focus of the trip is transportation infrastructure and technology, as well as sectors such as clean tech, agricultural innovation and information and communications technology.

Clark invited Hepner to be a delegate in the upcoming trip, which is set to stop in a number of cities including Beijing, Shanghai, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Guangzhou.

Asked if she would be sniffing out investors for the Surrey LRT line, Hepner didn’t rule it out.

“If, in our journeys, we happen upon investors who want to finance, I’m always open to those discussions,” she said, noting she’ll have the opportunity to see China’s LRT line on the ground. “I’m going with an open mind but most importantly to advance peoples’ interest in Surrey as a place to do business.”

She said she’ll be seeking clean tech investors.

“We have a significant economic sector in Eco-Newton, so I’d like to advance opportunities there. So that’s of interest to me and I’ll be talking to investors.”

“China has one of the most sophisticated and technically advanced rail transit systems in the world. With transit, specifically LRT, being a continuing priority for Surrey, it’s important to note that this trade mission will facilitate senior level discussions that may help to advance current strategy,” according to a corporate report before Surrey City Council Tuesday night. “Building connections with industry leaders in China has the potential to also help advance existing economic initiatives and enable new collaborations that may result in positive local economic impacts to the City of Surrey.”

The goals of the trade mission are to open new markets for exports, promote B.C. and Surrey’s competitive advantages in priority sectors, attract foreign investment to create employment opportunities and to promote B.C. and Surrey as a strategic headquarter spot for Chinese companies seeking a North American presence.

All told, the cost for Hepner’s trip, including flights, transportation, hotels and meals is estimated at $20,000. The trip’s costs will be covered through the mayor’s office budget.

amy.reid@thenownewspaper.com

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