Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Dortmund Lord Mayor Ullrich Sierau exchanged gifts as part of their visit. (File contributed/City of Victoria)

Mayors of Victoria and German city of Dortmund meet to talk innovation

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps and Lord Mayor Ullrich Sierau hope to take environmental initiatives

The City of Victoria and the German City of Dortmund may be quite different in size and location, but that hasn’t stopped the cities’ mayors from seeing common goals.

Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps was visited by Lord Mayor Ullrich Sierau, as well as a 11 German colleagues and MPs, on Friday morning for a meeting aimed at establishing a partnership in innovation and technology.

“Dormunt has done an amazing job revitalizing old industrial areas and turning them into tech incubators,” Helps said. “We’re in the process of recreating our economic action plan out to 2041… One relevant thing is the idea of creating an innovation district in Victoria.”

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Helps said that she specifically hopes to work with Ocean Networks Canada and other marine parties in establishing “ocean clusters” around the city, referring to ocean-oriented businesses and jobs.

Despite the fact that Dortmund is nowhere near an ocean, the German city’s focus on climate technology is something both mayors see as a uniting factor. Dortmund, a city formerly known for coal mining and machine factories, has now switched its focus to bio-medicine, nano-technology, logistics and health care.

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“Victoria is very active as far as climate actives are concerned,” Sierau said. “I think you have to go to Victoria to be victorious, that’s what we came here, to learn. Despite it being different parts of the world we are very similar in our approaches.”

Sierau and his delegation also met with staff from Camosun College, Royal Roads University and the University of Victoria, as well as the South Island Prosperity Partnership to discuss education, planning, development research and economic development.

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

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